Future Lexus Vehicles to Feature Cloaking Device Technology?

Lexus Cloaking Device

Toyota has received a US patent for “Apparatuses and methods for making an object appear transparent,”> which effectively translates into a “cloaking device” you might expect in a science fiction movie.

Actual usage could prove to be less interesting than you might expect, though still proof to a wonder of science — the patent illustrates a potential use as making the A-pillars to the left and right of the dashboard disappear.

This would greatly expand a driver’s field of vision and thereby make driving safer — from CNET:

In the patent, Toyota points out that this sort of technology can already be put to use in vehicles, but it requires video cameras and other expensive materials and equipment. Therefore, an equally efficient but less expensive solution needed to be found, and Toyota believes its “cloaking device” fits that bill.

One more thing to point out — if you take a close look at the illustration, it resembles a Lexus GS steering wheel:

Lexus GS Steering Wheel

Also, other illustrations in the patent bear a strange resemblance to the Lexus LFA:

Lexus LFA Cloaking Device

Reading about this gave me a strong sense of déjà vu, and some Googling confirmed my suspicions: Jaguar Land Rover announced something like this - the 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen with Transparent Pillar system - almost 3 years ago! Here's a link to an informative Autoblog story that includes JLR's original Press Release:

Mind you, I haven't delved deeply into either the JLR Autoblog article nor into the C-NET story on the Toyota/Lexus patent divulged in the story above. Is the Toyota system different enough from JLR's that the patents don't collide or infringe on each other? Or did Toyota simply beat JLR to the patent punch? Or will JLR be potentially suing Toyota for patent infringement? I have no clue, but perhaps it's time to start making some popcorn...