A unique group of Land Rover ‘super users’ influence the design direction of the forthcoming Defender model.
Prior to the opening of the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, we gave you a sneak peek at the new Defender concept that Land Rover was preparing to debut at the show. We were pretty surprised when not one, but two versions of the potential new Defender, called the DC100 and the DC100 Sport. Many consider classic Defender models to be the ultimate expression of utility first, go anywhere vehicles. The DC100 concepts show Land Rover’s consideration in moving the Defender in a technology and sustainability driven direction. A unique way they are highlighting new capabilities and features of the vehicles is through partnerships with disaster relief and environmental agency partners.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) already use Land Rover vehicles in their humanitarian aid fleets. The DC100 presented at Frankfurt carries the logos of both organizations. Land Rover says that ahead of the new Defender’s release in 2015, they will work with their humanitarian partners to refine the vehicle and make sure it meets their capability requirements.
Another group who have long relied on Land Rover’s off-road ability are scientists and explorers. Past vehicles have been used on expeditions to some of the most remote places on Earth. This has inspired the development of some interesting features on the DC100 concepts. For instance, cameras mounted to the front of the vehicle scan the terrain ahead and visually determine what sort of terrain the vehicle is about to encounter. This allows the DC100 to alter engine and suspension settings to respond on the fly to sand, mud, snow, or gravel. The DC100 also has an interesting trick for dealing with water. Wade Aid is a sonar-based system for assessing water depth before a driver attempts to cross a flooded area. And if you are really stuck, each wheel includes a driver-activated tire spike system which uses an electro-mechanical system to push metal spikes just above the tire tread and provide extra traction on slick surfaces.
Adventure Key – Having a key to carry can hamper athletic activities. Using RFID technology, the key can be embedded into impact or water resistant objects such as watches and wristbands. These allow the main key fob to be left in a slot in the glove box, which deactivates it and transfers its security functions to the rugged item containing the RFID chip. Once the vehicle is secured, only that specific RFID smart tag will allow access.