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How the Land Rover Invisible Hood Works


Why an invisible hood?
With the invisible hood, the driver has a much clearer view of where the wheels are, which makes climbing a steep incline or nosing along a thin trail much easier.
With the invisible hood, the driver has a much clearer view of where the wheels are, which makes climbing a steep incline or nosing along a thin trail much easier.
Land Rover

The Land Rover invisible hood (the company officially calls it the Transparent Bonnet, because that's how them-there-folks talk in England) debuted on the Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept vehicle at the 2014 New York International Auto Show [source: Land Rover Debuts]. To understand why an invisible hood is important for off-roading, you're going to need an oversized shirt and a pillow. Pregnant women, and guys who enjoy beer, can just use their bellies.

OK, put on the giant shirt and stuff a pillow under it. Now stand up. If you can still see your feet and the area directly in front of them, you need a bigger pillow. Not being able to see your feet or the ground just in front of them isn't a big deal when you're walking on an even floor. It's not like you walk around your house looking down, after all. The ground is smooth and level, so muscle memory just takes over. That's like driving on a paved road. You can see at a glance that the surface is smooth, so you can just drive over it. As long as you keep your wheels on the road surface, you're fine.

Now, take your giant pillow/beer/baby belly outside and attempt to walk over some uneven ground. It's not so easy, is it? When we walk over rough terrain, we automatically look down. We need to see what we're getting into. When you can't see what you're about to step on, it makes getting around much more difficult.

At least when you're walking and can't see, you can use your feet to feel the terrain. You also might try craning your neck around the curve of your belly. In a car or SUV, however, these aren't really options. As anyone who has ever had to drive a car up on ramps or down an icy dirt road can tell you, not being able to see what your wheels are about to come in contact with is tough. In fact, when you're crawling along mountain roads and over boulders, it's downright terrifying. One wrong move and you could injure or kill yourself — not to mention that Land Rover repairs aren't cheap.

For all these reasons (and more), a Land Rover with an invisible hood is a pretty handy thing to have. Next, we'll talk about what makes the invisible hood, well, invisible.


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