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LANDROVER DC100

Posted: September 15th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Auto News, Buster Cookson, Concept Car, Concept Vehicle, Favorite New Thought, Frankfurt Motor Show, Grilled, Land Rover | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on LANDROVER DC100

Land Rover DC100

Land Rover owners are an odd breed – I know this because I too suffer this disease – they tend to NOT embrace change, until of course it’s here, then they spout the wonders of good British design. Model changes are a rare thing for the ubercool off-roader. When they do happen, purests around the globe tend to get all vocal over how the brand is being watered down and spout 1000 non-nonsensical reasons why Land Rover should hold on to her old values. Of course the newer models are the best though, built tonka truck tough, with a brilliant eye for aesthetics, blah blah blah.

As an avid admirer and indeed driver of Land Rover, I’m excited at the idea of an evolved new version, and evolution is precisely what Land Rover has just unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show – Die Hards Turn Away Now! – Land Rover has just taken the wraps off its already controversial DC100 Concept in Frankfurt ::::

Land Rover DC100

Land Rover says the concepts are intended to float new ideas and spark debate on the design of the next-generation Defender which is slated for production 2015. Land Rover has also tossed-up some interesting possibilities as to what sort of high-tech kit might find a home in future models. Normally this would simply be rhetoric, Land Rover has however always taken feedback from it’s buyers very seriously, we suggest if your so inclined, check the Land Rover site at:  blog.landrover.com

Land Rover DC100

Land Rovers stated goal is to capture “the inherent simplicity and reassurance of the original short-wheelbase Land Rover”  The familiar short overhangs and near-vertical panels are there along with 22-inch alloy wheels. The angled windscreen and raked front end are the biggest departures from past design keys. Interior wise, there’s three in the front bench seating and the outboard passenger seat has the usual and expected fold- way cargo bay. Land Rover says interior materials have been chosen with sustainability and durability in mind. Seat cushions, footwells and rear load space also feature “an almost indestructible textile” used in spacesuits called “Superfabric”.

Land Rover DC100

On the box end, DC100 includes “Terrain-i scanning” for assisting with off-road navigation, always-on telematics and a submariner style sonar system called “Wade Aid” which detects the depth of the water you are crossing and works out the optimum gear, speed, ride height and engine revs required for optimal safe crossing. DC100 is equipped with an intelligent mapping system which builds a 3D visualization of the surrounding terrain using a headlamp-mounted scanner, cameras mounted at each corner. The vehicle can react to potential hazards ahead by altering ride-height to maximize approach and departure angles.

Land Rover DC100

All computing, navigation, climate and AV is run from a removable ruggedized – touchscreen – tablet mounted in the dash. Harking back to days of old – Land Rover Grills were used as camp bbq’s – the DC100 is equipped with multi function components, possibly not as low tech as setting car-parts on fire. The roof of the DC100 is equipped with solar panels to supplement power supply to on-board systems, built-in induction charging stations, the Meridian wireless speaker system is completely removable – streaming tunes straight to your campsite. But the bit we really like – a button-operated, electro-mechanical spiked tire system that sees air injected into pods moulded into the tread to create extra grip.

Land Rover DC100

Land Rover says the DC100 Concepts would use 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol and diesel powerplants with hybrid and plug-in capabilities with an eight-speed transmission and a “Driveline Disconnect” system that physically decouples the rear axle to save fuel when four-wheel-drive is not called for. There’s little doubt that  the pipe smoking brigade is – as we type – descending on the Land Rover web site, complaints neatly listed in readiness for the wtf have you done to my landy discussion. We also reckon that by the time DC100 goes into production the front nose will have much less slant to it . . . . .

We Like!

Land Rover DC100 Soft-top

At-A-Glance

  • Two new concepts from Land Rover investigate the potential future design direction of the iconic Defender.
  • Three-abreast ‘social seating’ is inspired by the very first Land Rovers.
  • Cutting-edge sustainable, hi-tech materials taken from luxury yachts, private jets and even the Space Shuttle.
  • The concepts capture the flexibility, adaptability and configurability that have always been key attributes of Land Rover and continue in today’s Defender.
  •   – DC100 demonstrates the future of Land Rover capability and versatility.
  •  – DC100 Sport is an active expression of freedom and leisure.
  • The Terrain-i scanning device warns the driver of obstacles when off-roading and can suggest alternative routes.
  • Wade Aid uses sonar technology to assess water depth and advise the driver of optimum speed.
  • Intelligent next-generation Land Rover Terrain Response system automatically optimises the car for any environment.
  • Driver-activated spiked tyre system can be deployed at the touch of a button.
  • Future paint technologies will allow for self-cleaning and healing bodywork.
  • Both concepts are based on the same lightweight, mixed-alloy platform.
  • Permanent four-wheel drive with an eight-speed transmission, Intelligent Start/Stop and a transfer case.
  • Driveline Disconnect physically decouples the rear axle to save fuel when all-wheel drive is not required.
  • 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines with hybrid and plug-in capabilities.
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Leisure key is a waterproof, lightweight alternative to the control fob.
  • Always-on connectivity and telematics allow for car-to-smartphone, car-to-car and car-to-base communication.
  • Built-in induction charging stations throughout the concepts.
  • Production of the new Defender planned for 2015.
Land Rover DC100 Soft-top

What’s the motivation behind the Land Rover DC100 Concept? Why are you replacing the Defender?

Forthcoming legislation requires a replacement in the 2015/2016 time frame. The Land Rover DC100 concept builds on the essential elements of the car’s character such as its capabilities. We want this to open the debate and inspire people to dream about the Defenders of the future.

Any potential Defender replacement will be configurable and will need to include a wide range of derivatives. A range that could run from commercial derivatives, similar to today’s Defender, to more lifestyle orientated specifications.

Land Rover DC100 Soft-top

Is this the final product or will it change?

This is a concept vehicle – one that shows our thinking on how we reinvent the Defender for a new generation. It’s the beginning of a four-year journey and by no means production ready. We’re starting a discussion about the future of the Defender and want our fans and customers to be a part of that conversation.

Land Rover DC100 Soft-top

Are you listening to your fans?

We are listening and we are extremely proud of how passionate, knowledgeable and loyal our fans are. We will absolutely be talking to our current owners to make sure any next generation vehicle meets their needs. We want our fans and customers to help us finalise the details of the new vehicle and to be a part of the debate as we move forward. We will continue to discuss the Land Rover DC100 concept within Facebook and Twitter and will share updates regularly. We have also set up a research programme that you can find out more about and register for on our website.

Land Rover DC100 Soft-top

Is this the future of Land Rover?

For more than six decades, Land Rover has been designing and building 4x4s that define capability, versatility and usability. Like no other vehicle, Defender inspires affection and loyalty the world over and we are extremely proud of the passion shown by our customers and fans. The Land Rover DC100 follows this same path and any new vehicle will be true to our heritage.

Both concepts capture the adventurous, daring, indomitable spirit of Land Rover. They are intended to explore the potential future design language that takes the open and honest character, and timeless simplicity of the original Defender and updates them for the 21st Century. Technology and the capability of our vehicles play a crucial part in our future and we will be sharing more information on specific details over the coming months.

Land Rover DC100 Soft-top

What are your plans now?

This is a concept vehicle – designing a production-ready concept is a whole different matter. The next steps for us are to invite people to dream and talk about the Defenders of the future, and to develop a business case for what the next Defender will be able to do. From there, we want to make the new vehicle accessible to our loyal customers and to a new audience of fans.

Will it be as good off-road as the current Defender?

The concept is a Land Rover vehicle and we are committed to making premium off-road vehicles for a global audience. We believe we can actually make it more capable off-road and far more livable on-road.  The Defender is one of the most adaptable vehicles on the planet and has been put to use by a number of industries and organisations from explorers, ecologists, UN aid workers and Red Cross medics. Its replacement will lose none of this versatility. We are actively exploring future variants with the help of our customers.

Land Rover DC100 Soft-top

Will it be more reliable than the current Defender?

We believe we can actually make it more capable off-road and far more liveable with on-road. This is what the Land Rover DC100 concept will explore and over the coming months we will be setting it a few challenges to see how it performs under pressure.

What will it be able to do?

The concept aims to explore and challenge this, however it will be as capable as the current Defender and we are working with our partners such as the Red Cross, Biosphere and Born Free to ensure it can go everywhere the current Defender can.

The only limit to a Defender’s abilities is the imagination of its owners and the Land Rover DC100 maintains this personalisation and configurability.

Can you pull it apart and put it back together?

The Defender is the original reconfigurable vehicle, being used by explorers, ecologists, UN aid workers or Red Cross medics. The design brief for the concept was to create a vehicle that is capable, versatile, and configurable and to appeal to our existing customers and potential new audiences.

Is modularity still important for the new Defender?

The core of Defender is modularity, today we build 28 versions of Defender including hard top, soft top, crew cab, chassis cab, station wagons, and pick-ups for a future Defender modularity is an absolute must.

Land Rover DC100 Soft-top

Are the designers and engineers working together?

It’s important to move forward with design integrity. Design and engineering are working together hand in hand to create a Defender which demonstrates longevity, functionality in a desirable contemporary design – not retro – but a vehicle relevant for the 21st century.

We have the same mind-set, a can do attitude that deliver creative solutions in terms of engineering and a vehicle that customer not only need but really want.

Land Rover DC100 Soft-top

What are the interiors like?

Functionality and usability are two key characteristics of Land Rover interiors – the position and logic of every control should be obvious the moment the driver enters. The concepts take this premise and address it in a contemporary way.

Both interiors feature rugged, durable and sustainable modern materials that offer comfort levels undreamt of by early Land Rover owners. Those chosen for DC100 are the latest in high-tech, tough, premium fabrics that will survive a lifetime of the roughest treatment. In DC100 Sport they are more luxurious, featuring leather with a subtle Tribal Tech pattern, referencing Land Rover’s legacy of exploration.

Land Rover DC100

Will it last for years like my current Defender?

We estimate that approximately 75% of the nearly 2 million Land Rovers built are still in use around the globe.  We therefore understand the importance of longevity, and this will not be ignored.

Will it still be a commercial vehicle?

Our commercial users are really important to us and we’re committed to delivering a vehicle capable for their needs in the future, however we can’t share specific details at this point. We are working closely with our partners at the Red Cross and Born Free to ensure the new vehicle is relevant for them.

We know the Defender plays a big role in the lives of many farmers, explorers, aid workers – you name it! Any replacement will stay true to this heritage and in fact we believe we can even improve its current capabilities as a trusted work horse. There are specific details about the concept’s capabilities on our UK blog.

Land Rover DC100

 Will it be affordable?

We understand the Defender must appeal to a wide audience and will share pricing information once we are in the production phase of this four-year project.

Why is it similar to a Range Rover? Is that the new design direction for Land Rover?

Land Rover has a design integrity that stretches back more than 60 years and the concept stays true to the original Defender, taking design and capability cues from the original 1948 vehicle. The design brief was to create a vehicle that will resonate with the commercial customer and the retail customer. It must be capable, versatile, and configurable. The capabilities and functionality of the Land Rover DC100 make it undeniably a Defender.

Land Rover DC100

Capability Features of the Land Rover DC100 Concept

Powerful new off-road tools will extend the capabilities of the much-praised Land Rover Terrain Response programme to allow it to automatically optimise the concepts for any environment without driver pre-selection. The system combines data from sensors that assess suspension travel, steering angle, wheel slip and braking and acceleration inputs to allow the vehicle to react by continuously and unobtrusively altering spring, damper, gearing and power delivery parameters.

Terrain Response on the DC100 concepts also features High-Definition cameras mounted on the front to analyse the visual spectrum of the ground ahead. This is then compared to images stored within a predictive neural network and allows the system to visually determine, for example, the difference between sand, grass, mud, gravel, snow and asphalt. Terrain Response can then actively alter the off-road performance parameters.

Land Rover DC100

Intelligent Terrain Mapping

Acting as an early-warning system is the state-of-the-art Terrain-i mapper that creates a virtual 3D visualisation of the ground ahead, displayed on the central touchscreen. Similar to systems used by fighter pilots, Terrain-i uses a headlamp-mounted scanner that runs complex algorithms to assess the route ahead and warn the driver of obstacles potentially too large to be safely negotiated.

Instead Terrain-i will suggest alternatives, displaying the safe route on the central screen. Cameras mounted on each corner of the concepts, giving the driver a 360-degree field of vision of the immediate vehicle environs, supplement the system.

Terrain-i also plays a vital support role to the driver in crowded urban environments where the intelligent 3D scanner can identify pedestrians and other hazards with far greater accuracy than current systems. This can initially warn the driver and, if avoiding action is not taken, safely stop the vehicle.

Wade Aid

Land Rover has developed a sonar-based system for assessing water depth that allows the driver to make informed decisions as to whether to proceed into flooded areas.

The system utilises sensors mounted in the bumpers and wing mirrors. These are able to measure depth and by working in conjunction with inclinometers recognise whether the level is increasing or decreasing. All this information is displayed in an intuitive graphic on the central touchscreen.

The system will also automatically optimise the concept for water crossing by raising the ride height, closing body vents, selecting a lower gear to maintain engine revs and advising on the optimum speed for the depth of water, allowing a maximum wading depth of 750mm.

Land Rover DC100

Spiked Tyres

Further allowing the concepts to adjust to changing conditions is a driver-deployable spiked tyre system. This is operated by an electro-mechanical system mounted within the tyre on the inside of the wheel; activation of the technology permits air to inflate a secondary air chamber, filling pods moulded into the tread of the tyre and which contain the spikes. The spikes rise just above the tread surface and fix into place for driving on packed snow and ice. When conditions have eased, the spikes can be retracted, obviating the need to carry two sets of tyres or snow chains.

Telematics

Underpinning these systems is a powerful telematics programme that seamlessly integrates many of the vehicle functions and presents information to the driver in the clearest, most straightforward manner.

In addition to this, the telematics allow communication between the concepts and a smartphone or laptop, allowing the owner to check everything from the tyre pressures to the cabin temperature and, for instance, operate the climate control remotely.

In addition, the telematics system can store data from every one of the car’s journeys and download them for comparison. So, for instance, information from the Wade Aid system could chart changes in water depth or data from the traction control could be used to assess the rate of terrain erosion.

The system also has full on-the-move connectivity via 3G and satellite and can deliver not just traffic alerts but also weather warnings for remoter areas.

Land Rover DC100

Leisure Key

Land Rover prides itself on offering solutions to everyday as well as extraordinary situations. Land Rover has adopted Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to increase the accessibility, usability and security of the concepts.

The concepts come with a set of RFID chips built into impact and water resistant items such as wristbands and watches. These allow the main key fob to be left in a slot in the glovebox, which deactivates it and transfers its lock and unlock functions to the rugged RFID chip. Once the system is armed and the car secured, only that specific RFID smart tag will allow it to be unlocked and reactivate the key fob.

Future developments of the system will allow each family member their own smart tag, which would save their personal audio, climate, communication and seating settings. This would also allow parents to restrict vehicle power and speed when their children used it. Third-generation smart tags could also include biometric data that would use facial systems to increase security.

Park Assist

Extending the DC100 Sport’s capabilities in the urban environment is a Park Assist system, which parallel parks the concept with minimal input from the driver. Sensors scan the side of the road to select a suitably sized space. If the driver confirms the selection, the DC100 Sport can then reverse into the space, performing all the steering functions automatically while the driver retains control over the brakes and accelerator.

Land Rover DC100

Drivetrain

Land Rover is actively researching the next generation of powertrains appropriate to the extreme uses and environmental challenges to which its cars are put. In association with research centres, suppliers and universities, the company is looking at a wide range of options to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Intelligent Start/Stop

The eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, with Intelligent Start/Stop fitted to the two concepts represents the first stage in Land Rover’s programme to introduce suitable, sustainable technology.

Designed with future hybridisation in mind, the gearbox utilises the Twin Solenoid Starter system that offers considerable benefits over more conventional Start/Stop technologies such as the ability to restart the engine during its rundown phase. The addition of a transfer case for a wide spread of ratios and wheel-mounted paddles for manual selection allows for great control both on and off road.

Appropriate Powertrains

Both concepts are powered by variations on a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. The go-anywhere DC100 is diesel-powered for maximum mud-plugging torque while the more performance-biased DC100 Sport is petrol-powered for a sportier drive. Both engines are capable of being configured as parallel or plug-in hybrids, as appropriate to their role.

Torque Vectoring

A new electronic torque vectoring system greatly extends the stability, traction and handling of the DC100 concepts on any surface. As opposed to purely mechanical differentials, those designed for torque vectoring use electronic control systems to channel specific amounts of power to each individual wheel.

In on-road driving situations this allows for both a sportier and safer drive, with the torque vectoring acting to further enhance vehicle performance by working in conjunction with stability programmes. During off-road driving, torque vectoring confers even greater benefits, being able to infinitely and instantaneously send torque to whichever combination of the four wheels has the most grip.

Driveline Disconnect

Driveline Disconnect reduces friction losses by sending drive to the front axle only unless conditions dictate that all-wheel drive is required. Unlike conventional switchable four-wheel drive, which reroutes engine power electronically, the Land Rover system physically decouples the rear propshaft from the centre differential for greater efficiency benefits with potential fuel savings of up to 7%. The system can recouple and send drive to the rear wheels when it detects a loss of traction as swiftly as an electronic programme.


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