Land Rover's nav unit goes above and beyond

Land Rover's nav unit goes above and beyond

Kevin Massy
Those perennial overachievers at Land Rover are just about to start blitzing the U.S. airwaves with a commercial that shows how last month, they used the navigation system in a Land Rover LR3 to navigate from Nice in southern France to the island of Corsica. And when we say "in a Land Rover LR3," that's precisely what we mean--the automaker commandeered a Hercules C130 airplane onto which they drove the car, which was then used as a navigation center for the flight.

According to the documentary that shows the story behind the journey (complete with the obligatory uplifting music and British-accent marketing-jargon voice-overs), the greatest perceived challenge for the unit was the plane's speed. Apparently, the LR3's navigation system was designed to work at speeds of up to 200mph--presumably on the assumption that Ferrari would one day want to outsource its navigation installs--whereas the plane would require the unit to work at speeds of up to 400mph. As well as increased speed, the unit had to deal with the challenge of working at 9,000 feet over the Mediterranean. In a particularly fatuous comment, Land Rover's chief designer admits that "major oceans are not part of our design brief."

Nevertheless, according to Land Rover, the LR3's unit performed admirably, guiding the plane and "tracking beautifully" to land on Corsica, 100 miles southwest of the French Riviera--an impressive feat.

So, the gauntlet has been thrown down for other automakers. What's next? A transatlantic crossing in a Chevy?