Jaguar today announced a new tech feature that will blur the line between reality and simulation.
The Jaguar Virtual Windscreen works like any of the numerous head-up displays currently on the market, except Jag has used the technology to make real-life driving more like a video game.
The system not only augments the driver’s view with relevant data like lap times, but also with a virtual racing line that changes from green to red to indicate braking zones, just like in Forza Motorsport.
Drivers can even call up “ghost” cars that represent previous laps or laps recorded by other racers, another feature that’s well known to gamers.
There are also virtual cones that can be set up to create an invisible autocross course. What will onlookers think when they see a Jaguar F-Type swerving around a parking lot for no apparent reason?
The Virtual Windscreen can also display more mundane things like instrument data and the feed from a rearview camera. It complements the “Transparent Hood” unveiled by Land Rover a few months ago.
It’s also the latest attempt by carmakers to reconcile the singular pursuit of performance driving with the impulse to load cars with more connectivity features for smartphone addicted consumers.
While digital tech arguably enhances certain aspects of regular driving with features like navigation, track driving is really something that’s done for its own sake.
Yet with features like the Virtual Windscreen, Chevrolet’s Performance Data Recorder, and BMW’s GoPro integration, carmakers are trying to bring some of the technological zeitgeist to the world of automotive performance.
The question is whether tech will genuinely improve the act of fast driving, or just become a distracting gimmick.