Jaguar Land Rover has developed a smart car door that opens automatically as the driver approaches or can be operated by gesture control. The mobility door prototype, currently being tested on a Range Rover Sport, uses motion sensors and existing keyless entry technology to detect the driver as they walk towards the vehicle before automatically opening the door to welcome them like an invisible valet.
The technology could help disabled people and those carrying child seats or large items as the driver will no longer have to struggle to free a hand to open the door. Once on board, occupants can close the mobility door with an overhead button – without the need to reach out and pull the door shut. Software built into the infotainment system shows the status of each door and allows operation of the driver and passenger doors from inside the cabin.
Radar sensors on the driver’s door detect lamp posts or other obstacles to stop the door swinging open and bumping into objects. The door can also be programmed to close and lock behind you as you walk away.
Jaguar Land Rover is working with a gold medal-winning Invictus athlete to trial the system. Former Royal Marine Commando Mark Ormrod is Britain’s first triple amputee from the Afghanistan conflict.
Xu Zhou, deep learning technical research manager at Jaguar Land Rover said, “The mobility door is an exciting piece of technology that offers a real-world value to our customers. There’s also something very welcoming about the door opening on your approach – something we think will be greatly valued as we become more familiar with shared mobility.”
Jaguar Land Rover claims that their research engineers have developed the system on a laboratory rig over six months before testing it on a Range Rover Sport. As well as helping disabled people, they also see the technology as relevant to all future vehicles.
Also read: Continental introduces smart doors for autonomous vehicles