Land Rover has announced a long-term global partnership with Richard Branson’s pioneering commercial spaceline, Virgin Galactic and revealed its Discovery Vision Concept vehicle, a vision of Land Rover’s future family of Discovery vehicles.
Demonstrating their shared vision of pioneering spirit, technological innovation and sense of adventure, the ground breaking partnership was announced against the backdrop of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, the world’s first commercial passenger carrying spacecraft, alongside Land Rover’s new Discovery Vision Concept vehicle.
The partnership will see Land Rover vehicles become part of daily life for the Virgin Galactic team and for all ‘Future Astronauts’, the space experience will now begin with Land Rover as they arrive in New Mexico for training, and continue to the moment they drive from the space terminal building to the waiting spaceship. Land Rover will base a fleet of vehicles at the Virgin Galactic test center in the Mojave Desert, Calif., and at its astounding operational New Mexico base, Spaceport America.
The announcement was revealed in dramatic fashion on board the USS Intrepid, a former aircraft carrier and now a museum dedicated to the exploration of sea, air and space, and anchored on the Hudson River in New York City.
Land Rover’s first act as exclusive partner was to bring a unique full-size replica of SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise to New York, where it joined the British Airways Concorde and its namesake Space Shuttle Enterprise upon the Intrepid. Like the Space Shuttle, SpaceShipTwo is the first of a revolutionary fleet of reusable human spacecrafts.
Revealed alongside SpaceShipTwo was Land Rover’s Discovery Vision Concept, a vision of Land Rover’s future family of Discovery vehicles. The concept car previews dynamic new design language and an array of world first technologies. Building on Land Rover’s renowned all-terrain capability, the Discovery Vision Concept represents the ultimate SUV of the future.
The vehicle uses augmented reality technology to display a ‘see-through’ view of the terrain ahead, making the front of the car ‘virtually’ invisible from inside the cabin. Gesture Control allows you to open the doors, operate the indicators or turn on the headlamps simply by moving your hand, while Laser Referencing projects visible markings, symbols and imagery onto the ground to aid low speed or tricky maneuvers.
“We couldn’t be more delighted to have Land Rover join us on our incredible journey,” said Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic. “It is hard to think of a brand which is more synonymous with exploration and adventure. The safety and engineering excellence of Land Rover’s vehicles, which have been the stuff of legend for more than 65 years, are attributes which also lie at the heart of Virgin Galactic. We look forward to crossing the final frontier together and to a long and fruitful partnership.”
Both Land Rover and Virgin Galactic run STEM education programs, which encourage young people to aspire to a future in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and together see the huge potential to develop this partnership to inspire others to motive more young people to pursue careers in these vitally important fields.
“This is a marriage of two of Britain’s most iconic brands who celebrate shared values, a pioneering spirit and a true sense of adventure,” said Phil Popham, group marketing director of Jaguar Land Rover. “Not only do we both share the same long-term vision to enable mankind to explore, but we also want to develop this partnership to inspire others. From our tens of thousands of employees and customers to schools and colleges, motivating more young people to pursue careers in engineering, science, technology and math – and explore new ways of travelling for future generations.
“Land Rover’s heart beats ‘above and beyond’ – we are pioneers on land and Virgin Galactic is the pioneer of space. It’s a very special match of brands with a shared vision,” said Popham.
The Discovery Vision Concept will be on display at the New York Auto Show, which opens to the public on Friday, April 18, 2014.