When it comes to the guru of action and adventure, Bear Grylls, there's very little left that he can do that would shock, right? Wrong. He just jumped out of a plane while controlling the new Land Rover Discovery seating on the ground as he was free falling.
Spoiler alert: he managed to arrange the seating as he wanted and didn't die. So breathe easy and read on.
The stunt was to show that the app which works with the new Land Rover Discovery, due to be fully revealed on 28 September, is able to control the smart electric seating from afar.
The app, in a claimed world first, lets the user actually move seats up and down - ideal if you want the back flat to load up that bed you've been lugging around Ikea. Or in this case for Bear to have the seats all up ready for him to collapse into after the skydive.
The new Land Rover Discovery is the first major redesign to the car in over twelve years. It sees some serious tech upgrades in a car that can handle any terrain it, ahem, discovers. The accompanying app can access the Intelligent Seat Fold system from anywhere in the world. It can control all seven of the car's seats, meaning they will robotically move to become flat should you need them that way.
Bear Grylls jumped out of a plane with six Royal Navy Parachute Display Team members and hit speeds of up to 125mph with his phone strapped to his arm. He was then able to use the InControl Remote app to tell the car to move the seats which reconfigured in a meagre 14-seconds.
When asked how tough the stunt was Bear said: “You know when I was asked to do this I asked how many buttons I'd need to press. Turns out all I had to do was open the app, tap Unfold All and it was done. But that was probably my limit anyway - I had to focus on pulling the chute.”
Talking about his involvement with Land Rover specifically he said: “No plan ever survives first contact with the enemy. When things go wrong you need to be able to improvise and adapt. It's that kind of mentality that's core to Land Rover so, yeah, we like that.”
When asked if he's a gadget fan Bear said: “Everyone always thinks I won't be techie. But actually I really enjoy tech. We're away a lot and it lets me stay in touch with my family. Also from a safety perspective we have to be on it with satellite phones. I'm not into gimmicky stuff, but stuff that actually works.”
Talking about the free fall Bear pointed out: “I told the guys before we jumped that if I had time I'd stick the heated seats on too.” While this isn't an option from the app yet it looks like Bear is onto a great idea for a future software update there.
When it comes to trying new things he enlightened us: “It's good to get out of your comfort zone, I call it 'comfort pit'. We run the toughest obstacle course race out there - the 30KM one with all the survival elements so you have to stay mentally active. But there are 5KM and 10KM ones, so whatever level you're at you're welcome.”
On meeting Barack Obama he said: “He's a really down to earth, humble guy who's working hard to make a difference. I'm a fan of his climate change work. He called us and the next day we were out setting up.”
The new Land Rover Discovery will be unveiled fully on 28 September where we'll be ready to bring you all the details.