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Onelife 22

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Unboxing of the All-New Discovery | A portrait of the sailing legend, Ben Ainslie | Look into the future of mobility and transportation | Copenhagen – probably the coolest city in the world?

OBJECT 04: LAB CAR In

OBJECT 04: LAB CAR In 2011, Land Rover commissioned artist Benedict Radcliffe to create a striking full-size wireframe sculpture of the Range Rover Evoque. It was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show and had a brilliant critical reception. But in a workshop deep in Land Rover’s HQ, its technicians have been making similar full-size models in secret for years. Their subjects are future Land Rover vehicles so new that the ink is barely dry on the designers’ sketches, and the purpose of their sculptures is to allow the engineers to start assembling and testing the new cars systems long before the first prototypes have been made. Unlike Benedict’s eerily-accurate Range Rover Evoque, you wouldn’t guess much about the final shape of the All-New Discovery from this model, known as a ‘lab car’, but outsiders still very seldom get to see them. It’s the internal dimensions that are important, and the ability to rig and connect all the components required for a complex feature such as the new Discovery models world-first Intelligent Seat Fold system * . “The lab cars are made from what’s essentially a gigantic construction toy set,” says engineer Dave Hinds. “The guys who put them together really are incredibly skilled. They’re mainly used for testing electrical systems on the car, but for the new Intelligent Seat Fold we fitted all seven seats as well. Even before we rig the systems in a lab car we’ll have tested them virtually, but there’s really no substitute for a complete, physical start-to-end test. “And because we’re testing so early in the development process, our experience with the lab cars allows us to add or change features. In a perfect world we’d think of everything before we start designing a system. But as we start to use it in the lab car we’ll come up with more ideas, or new usage scenarios we hadn’t thought of first time around. By the time we finish testing we’ll have thought of the kind of things that perhaps only one customer in thousands might do. But the car will be designed and tested to handle it.” 46 * optional feature

ALL-NEW DISCOVERY OBJECT 05: CAD DOG Since it first appeared in 1989, the Discovery has won a reputation for extraordinary versatility, which allows it to be both an expedition vehicle and a family car. But it doesn’t just happen. It starts with Land Rover engineers meticulously brain-storming every use you’re likely to put the car to, and every object you’re likely to want to carry. And then it involves going home to measure the dog. “I remember the meeting vividly,” says Justin Cole, the Senior Engineer who now heads the Land Rover packaging department. “A few years ago, when we were working on an earlier version of the Discovery, we created a list of everything customers might want to put in the car. If someone at the meeting had one of the objects – a surfboard or a mountain bike or fishing kit – they were sent home to measure it in sufficient detail for us to create a Computer Aided Design (CAD) model, which we could insert into a virtual car to check that it fitted from the earliest design stages.” Justin had a 66-pound Labrador called Sam. “We knew that Discovery owners were likely to have a large dog, and that the Labrador was a popular breed. So when I got home I took a tape measure to Sam. He was already at an age where he was happy to sit still. We used the data to create two virtual models of him, sitting and standing, and he’s been in the back of every Land Rover since.” Justin’s team carefully monitors our changing habits. When the virtual Sam was first created, they were designing storage for early cell phones, whereas the new Discovery can stow multiple tablets in the central console alone. “But a big dog is still a big dog,” says Justin. So although Sam passed away a few years ago, he’s still used in the design process. “His ashes are in a nice flower pot in front of our house now, which flowers every year.” And he lives on in the back of the new Discovery, having checked it’s just as comfortable for dogs as it is for humans. 47

 

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