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Car & Driver: Phone-to-Throne: Land Rover Shows Remote Control Power Seats

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2017-Land-Rover-Discovery-camo

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Land Rover’s 2017 Discovery is still so new that it’s only being shown in camouflage until the official reveal at the upcoming Paris auto show, but we know its power-folding seats can be operated by remote control. Our modern fascination with remote control hasn’t faded since the debut of Zenith’s “Space Command” wireless television remote in the 1950s, which sent ultrasonic sound waves from vibrating aluminum rods to a vacuum-tube receiver, and this latest application of operation-from-afar looks every bit as complex, if tailored to the our always-connected age.

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Land Rover’s InControl Remote smartphone app will be able to raise or lower the Disco’s second- and third-row seats from almost anywhere in the world. This requires untold lines of new software code to let Land Rover’s server receive commands from a cell phone, verify the user, and send the authorized signal over a second cellular network to the vehicle’s modem, at which point the vehicle’s CAN Bus must interpret the command and direct it to the proper ECU which, in turn, must then activate multiple electric motors. See how easy that was?

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At this point, no other automaker offers wireless seat control, least of all by way of the owner’s phone. We see huge potential in this technology as a means by which siblings can prank one other while they’re strapped in the car and, um, well, to help your spouse load a new TV into the family truckster even though you’re on a business trip five time zones away? For Land Rover owners, it’ll be another functionality for the app beyond remote start, climate control, door locking, and vehicle tracking.

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In case you’re not skydiving toward your car while fussing with an app—as Land Rover demonstrated is possible for no apparent reason—the Discovery also lets the owner raise and lower the seats from the vehicle’s infotainment screen or by pressing traditional switches located both in the cargo area and on the C-pillar behind the doors. Even the headrests automatically power up and down as needed. Progress.

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