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Jaguar Land Rover's Overhead Clearance Assist is coming to save us from ourselves

Jaguar Land Rover is developing a new system called Overhead Clearance Assist that's designed to warn drivers before they inadvertently shear bikes and kayaks off their roof racks.

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Chris Paukert

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Jaguar Land Rover shows off Overhead Clearance Assist tech
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Jag's new entry-level XE sedan was fitted with Overhead Clearance Assistance tech for our demo.

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Overhead Clearance Assist should help off-road, as well, to avoid low-hanging branches, rocky outcroppings and other paint-scratching perils.

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This prototype screen shows OCA in action.

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Right now, there are only three height presets - standard, bicycle and roof box. It's easy to imagine that more presets for objects like angle-mounted kayaks and snowboards will be included in the production version.

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This view shows the development rig, with the second screen giving development engineers a view of what the computer is seeing.

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Land Rover had us test out OCA on a wooded test course, where it could not only see overhead obstacles like the wood trusses above, but also assess how far apart the trees are, to let the driver know whether the path is too narrow to fit.

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A production version of OCA would not include the secondary screen or the red emergency stop button seen on the center console.

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Most Land Rover models are equipped with variable suspension systems that can be deflated to clear select obstacles.

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The world's most expensive game of limbo?

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It's easy for the human eye to be fooled about the relative heights of objects ahead, and the stereo cam is more accurate.

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The stereo cam can see objects up to 30 meters away -- nearly 100 feet. It can also detect obstacles that are much closer, as shown here.

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Parking structures with low ceilings and home garage doors claim more expensive bikes and lifestyle gear each year than you might think.

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Will it shear?

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