Jaguar Land Rover is set to join the growing list of automakers developing autonomous technology - but with a difference.
As well as preparing a 100-vehicle research fleet over the next four years, the British automaker plans to incorporate an off-road component in its autonomous technology suite.
The Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) technologies will be tested over a 66 kilometre test route around Coventry and Solihull.
As well as monitoring road markings and surrounding traffic, JLR’s CAV system also aims to share data with surrounding vehicles, to alert them of hazard or obstructions that might be hiding around blind corners or out of the driver’s line of sight.
Emergency vehicles can also send out a beacon before arriving, allowing motorists to safety get out of the way.
“Our connected and automated technology could help improve traffic flow, cut congestion and reduce the potential for accidents,” Tony Harper, JLR’s head of research said.
“We will also improve the driving experience, with drivers able to choose how much support and assistance they need. In traffic, for example, the driver could choose autonomy assist during tedious or stressful parts of the journey.”
Away from the confines of city streets and highways, Land Rover’s version of the technology uses sensors to map the surrounds, and conditions, when a vehicle makes its way off road.
Radar, Lidar, 3D path-sensing, and surface identification are just some of the systems at use. The car can then interpret the data to formulate the safest path ahead, avoiding obstructions.
More than just looking at the ground though, the system also keeps a watch above, for low hanging branches and the like, factoring those into its course.
“Our all-terrain autonomy research isn’t just about the car driving itself on a motorway or in extreme off-road situations.” Mr Harper said
“It’s about helping both the driven and autonomous car make their way safely through any terrain or driving situation.”
The all-terrain camera system can also identify bumps, potholes, and surface imperfections, and adjust the vehicle speed and suspension accordingly to ensure a minimal impact on occupants.