Coventry, England - In the age of automated everything, where even electric tailgates are becoming commonplace, one would wonder why electrically operated car doors haven’t become a thing.
It could soon, however, with Jaguar Land Rover having just announced its mobility door prototype, which is currently being tested on a Range Rover Sport. Not only will it make life even lazier for regular consumers, the technology also has the potential to provide much needed assistance to disabled customers - since research shows that up to a third of such motorists struggle with practical difficulties in their day to day usage.
To that end, Invictus Games gold medallist and former Royal Marine Commando Mark Ormrod, who is a triple amputee, has agreed to help JLR test the technology.
So how do these mobility doors work?
One of the big challenges was to prevent the doors from colliding with the doors of other cars in parking lots, as well as garage walls and other objects that they might encounter, and this is solved by radar sensors mounted on the doors.
Employing existing ‘keyless entry’ technology, the system can be programmed to open the door automatically as the driver approaches or it can be operated via gesture control. After climbing in, the driver can then close the door at the touch of an overhead button. It can also be programmed to close and lock as the driver walks away from the vehicle.
A real help to the disabled
“This innovative Jaguar Land Rover technology would be such a benefit to me and has real power to change lives for those who face problems getting in and out of the car,” Ormrod enthused.
“Opening and closing the car door may seem like such an insignificant task to many people but sometimes it’s the small, everyday obstacles which people take for granted that are most frustrating to overcome for those living with disabilities.”
JLR research manager Xu Zhou added that there was something very welcoming about the idea of a door opening as you approach.
Think of it as an invisible valet.