Late to the game, Britain’s largest car manufacture Jaguar Land Rover knows that if it wants to be competitive and be a player in the marketplace, it must join the crowd and develop autonomous vehicle technology.
The luxury automaker isn’t going let everyone pass it by, so the company will create a fleet of more than 100 research vehicles over the next four years to test autonomous and connected technology.
Tests will begin later this year with the initial models driving on a 41-mile test route on freeways and urban roads near its headquarters and plants in central England.
The first tests will involve vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications technologies that will allow cars to “talk” to each other as well as roadside and overhead signs, and traffic lights.
Jaguar Land Rover’s head of research, Tony Harper, said, “Our connected and automated technology could help improve traffic flow, cut congestion and reduce the potential for accidents.”
Using a variety of sensors and a forward-facing stereo camera to generate a 3D view of the road ahead, Jaguar Land Rover is at first focusing on three new connected and autonomous driving features which will help make driving safer and more efficient, but without permanently handing over full control of the car to a computer.
The technologies include Roadwork Assist, which will alert the driver to upcoming roadwork and help keep the driver between the cones with “a small amount of steering assistance.”
A Safe Pullaway feature aims to prevent drivers from bumping the vehicle in front of them by not paying attention in traffic or hitting something because the car was put in drive instead of reverse by mistake.
Over the Horizon Warning uses V2V technology to let the driver know what’s over the horizon or around a sharp bend in the road.
There’s also Emergency Vehicle Warning, which picks up signals from emergency vehicles so the driver can safely pull off the roadway before sirens are even heard.
The fleet testing announcement came just a day after Land Rover revealed that is has begun tests that demonstrate all-terrain self driving and an off-road connected convoy feature.
Using a system that includes cameras, radar, ultrasonic and LIDAR sensors, it can see better than the driver, ultimately giving a vehicle high levels of artificial intelligence required for the vehicle to think for itself and plan the route it should take, on any road surface or terrain.
Jaguar Land Rover may be slow in joining the driver-less car party, but it’s ambitious.