JLR Working to Develop Overhead Clearance Assist
JLR is working to develop a new technology called Overhead Clearance Assist, which is designed to help drivers avoid low-hanging branches and prevent them from knocking things off their roof, like a kayak or bikes. This project is being co-developed with German supplier Bosch and will utilize the stereo camera mounted on the windshield, which is already used for lane-departure-warning tech, emergency auto brake, and road-sign recognition. The technology will scan the road 100 feet ahead for overhead obstructions and will measure how far the obstructions are off the ground and compare that to the vehicle’s height. Right now, the OCA technology is cumbersome, requiring the driver to remember to use the system and the accurate vehicle height which needs to be input into the system on the central infotainment touchscreen, which have quick add height adjuster for Kayaks, bike racks, etc. Currently JLR hasn’t specified a release date, but since no additional hardware is needed, the new system could be implemented as soon as next model year.
Chris Paukert of Road Show envisions future applications of the technology, “OCA could be tied to the vehicle’s auto-brake system, for instance, so if a particularly dimwitted driver failed to heed its warnings, it could autonomously engage the brakes to prevent an expensive lesson with a low overhead garage door. On Land Rovers equipped with variable-height air suspensions, perhaps the system could automatically lower the chassis to clear objects. It’s also easy to foresee a range of Bluetooth-enabled smart roof racks being developed that can tell what is being clipped in to them, automatically notifying OCA of their new height.”