Photos by MJ Klein
Good friend and blogger, Andre, recently purchased a new vehicle. The one he chose is awesome, utilizing technology to solve many driving issues. He bought the Luxgen SUV, which was designed and produced in Taiwan. Not intending to be a review of the vehicle, here are some very cool things about it. UPDATE: read about some of the Luxgen technology here.
This is what it looks like. The SUV is robust and rugged looking, and it feels that way on the road too. Let’s check out some of this cool technology:
The headlights are HID and steerable. That means when you turn the car, the lights turn in the direction you are going. There is a smaller Daytime Running Light visible at the upper left.
This is a front foglamp and an LED array for the turn indicator.
This is the vehicle right side, showing the entire lighting array, with the foglamp on.
Below the foglamp and turn indicator array is a sonar transducer. The sonar alerts the driver when the car is approaching objects, such as other cars when parking.
This is a shot of the windshield center, along the roof line. Here we find (at least) 2 cameras. I’ll get to these later. The Luxgen has a total of 8 cameras (that we could find).
This forward-facing camera is in the front grille and is part of the “Eagle View” system (I’ll show you that in a minute).
The mirrors have a lot of technology packed into them! First, we see an icon in the mirror’s lower right. That is a heater icon, indicating that when the rear window defogger is on, there is also heat applied to the mirrors to defog them. Just below that is a camera that is used for showing the blind spot to the side of the car when turning. On the bottom of the mirror is another camera used for the “Eagle View” system. Finally, on the outside of the mirror is an auxiliary turn indicator. The turn indicator wraps around towards the front of the vehicle, making it visible from all possible angles. The side mirrors are motorized and fold up against the vehicle body for parking. They deploy automatically at a specific speed if you forget to put them back out again.
This is a shot of the right hand mirror, taken from the vehicle in movement (with the turn indicator on).
This model has a Rear Fog Lamp on the bumper to the left of the license plate. One of the backup lights has been replaced with a high intensity red light, making it a RFL. Here we see the rear of the car with the brake lights on, and the RFL on too, showing how bright the RFL is compared to the brake lights. Many new cars have a visible RFL, such as the Toyota Altis (and many other Toyota models) several VW models, and the Ford Focus.
Under the Luxgen logo on the rear of the vehicle is another camera used for the rear view and also the “Eagle View” system.
The rear compartment is roomy. Andre opted for some storage options that define the space very well.
The rear seats fold down for even more cargo space.
The rear passengers have their own fold-down vanity mirrors and a 10″ video screen for the entertainment system.
The front cockpit view reveals one of the coolest dashboards in the world. At the center of attention is the 10″ video monitor that at is the heart of all this technology.
The control system, called “THINK” can be set for English or Chinese. Icons at the bottom left indicate the status of mobile phone reception (the car has it’s own SIM card), Bluetooth connection, missed calls, SMS messages and system alerts. This photo shows the Multimedia menu.
There is a standard USB input as well as A/V inputs as well. One could literally do a corporate presentation in the car on the way to a meeting.
This is the Navigation system menu. Luxgen has a website where an owner can plan a trip and upload it to the car’s Navigation system.
This is the Navigation screen that the driver sees when traveling toward a destination. Notice the red colored “30” in the circle to the upper left. This is an icon of a Taiwan speed limit sign. The map displays the speed limit of the road/street that you’re traveling on. This is one of the best implementations of GPS navigation I have personally seen. The system can display information in English while simultaneously displaying Chinese street and place names.
There are dedicated hard buttons for several functions. The 2 that are lit are “LDWS” and “Sonar.” The Sonar system alerts the driver when the vehicle is getting close to another object. “LDSW” means “Lane Departure Warning System” and it utilizes one of the 2 cameras we saw near the roof line center of the windshield. The Luxgen system uses sophisticated face recognition software to monitor the lane being driven in. When the vehicle appears to be drifting too close to the lane dividing line, it sounds a warning. This warning is disabled when using turn indicators. Thus the system also promotes the use of turn signals. The vehicle also has Night Vision (utilizing the second roof line center camera) and that can mean the difference between seeing someone on the road, and not. The range is 100 meters. The icon on the bottom right is for opening and closing the rear hatch (it’s motorized).
This is the center console underneath the video display monitor. There are functional hard buttons and the menu navigation buttons in the center. The console is logically laid out and Andre said it didn’t take him long to get used to navigating the menus.
This is the “Eagle View” system and one of the most useful applications of camera technology I’ve seen. Four camera views are combined to provide a synthesized 360 degree overhead view of the vehicle relative to it’s surroundings, in real time. Need to negotiate a tight space? Need to travel down one of those impossibly narrow Taiwan country paths? Eagle View is just what you need! You can park your vehicle with real precision using the Eagle View system!
This is one of 4 individual views that make up the Eagle View. This shot shows the forward view of the vehicle and 3 distance zones so the driver can negotiate objects and know how far they are away from the vehicle. All 4 views have the colored zones.
The steering wheel features controls for the entertainment system as well as navigation buttons for the various menus. You can handle phone calls without taking your hands off the wheel.
Not shown is the “heads-up” display that projects the vehicle speed and other information on the windshield.
Our last shot was taken while the vehicle was in motion. Andre put on his left turn signal and the 10″ dashboard display monitor showed the blind spot camera view on the left side. This feature eliminates any problems associated with not seeing another vehicle in the driver’s blind spot.
Overall the Luxgen system, designed by HTC, has taken vehicle safety and comfort to a new level. While the technology is fascinating and very useful, the Luxgen SUV itself is a beautiful car, with high-class attention to detail and high-end appointments. If you have a chance to see one at your local dealer, I recommend that you do so.
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