Jaguar Land Rover Is Developing Autonomous Tech and … Self-Driving Off-Roaders?

Jaguar Land Rover will create a 100-car fleet over the next four years to test four new safety systems; oh, and some tech-augmented off-roaders

No matter how controversial the autonomous technologies are right at this moment (Tesla is getting blamed for its Autopilot because of a series of unfortunate – and tragic – events), the self-driving car transcends from a dream to a necessity, and no one but the user request is the main reason for that.

On this note, all the big players are continuously researching and developing technologies to make the cars as smart and safe as possible. Take Jaguar Land Rover, for example. In the last couple of years, they showed us how life behind the wheel would be when your windscreen is a huge HUD. Or how easy off-roading is when your hood is transparent. 

Now they’d moved further, as Jaguar Land Rover revealed, it will create a 100-car fleet for developing a series of connected and autonomous driving technologies. The program is meant to unfold over the next four years and will comprise in testing vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure comm.

If you wonder what does come next in this area, let’s briefly enumerate the features JLR is working on. 

Roadwork Assist is designed to recognize cones and barriers (and other similar props) and to draw a path through the construction site. For this, a steering assist will come in play to keep the car centered in its lane. 

Safe Pullaway system is there to help you avoid bumping into the car in front of you – the roundabout example showed in the video below is the most eloquent – when you want to pull away. 

Things are getting impressive with the Over The Horizon Warning system; thanks to vehicle-to-vehicle data transmitters, OTHW will “mark” a stopped or slow-moving vehicle, beaconing the event to near traffic. Think about how useful (and safe) this system would be on a road with bad visibility.

The Emergency Vehicle Warning system would connect emergency vehicles (ambulances, police cars, fire trucks) with your car at all times, alert you – via audio and visual alerts – where the emergency vehicle is coming from and how far away it is.

As for the idea of creating an autonomous off-roader, Head of Research Tony Harper stated that “our all-terrain autonomy research isn’t just about the car driving itself on a motorway or in extreme off-road situations. It’s about helping both the driven and autonomous car make their way safely through any terrain or driving situation.”

So is not only about getting you out from a hairy situation, it is about getting you out of there without even a scratch (on your car). So on the road, your off-roader will be able to host all the technologies mentioned above.

Making use of all the cameras and radars you can put on a Land Rover, this technology will scan all the surroundings (rendering a 360-degree view) and will alert you of immediate danger. Overhead Clearance Assist, for example, scans obstructions above while Terrain-Based Speed Adaption automatically slows the vehicle if it “reads” rough surfaces, potholes or standing water up ahead – it can scan an area up to 16 feet (4.8 meters) in front of the car. More than that, vehicle-to-vehicle communication will connect your car with any off-roader nearby.

We don’t have any word on when in the future this technology will be available on Jaguar Land Rover products but expect a full integration of what you’ve read about above by 2022. 

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