Jaguar Land Rover is taking autonomous driving technology very seriously.
Last week JLR revealed it is working on pothole detection technology; today there is another piece of the puzzle, a smartphone app that turns a Range Rover Sport into a remote control car.
Currently in prototype testing, the app gives control of throttle, brakes and steering, at speeds up to 4mph and a range of 10 metres (the system only works if it can detect the car’s smart key). It could allow users to manoeuvre the car out of a space that’s too tight to open the door, or to act as their own off-road spotter. Ultimately, the app could be used simply to issue commands that the the remote control Range Rover Sport carries out.
JLR is also testing an autonomous multi-point-turn system, that can execute a 180-degree turn in a tight space with no input from the driver.
Dr Wolfgang Epple, JLR research and techology director, said: “Getting a car out of a tricky parking manoeuvre can be a stressful experience for any driver. A Remote Control car, or a vehicle that can autonomously turn in the road, demonstrates how we could use these new technologies to reduce the tedious parts of driving and improve road safety.
“Research into technologies like these won’t only help us deliver an autonomous car. They will help make real driving safer and more enjoyable. The same sensors and systems that will help an autonomous car make the right decisions, will assist the driver and enhance the experience to help prevent accidents. Autonomous car technologies will not take away the fun of driving.”
The big picture is to offer Jaguar Land Rover drivers the option of an ‘engaged’ or autonomous drive. According to Dr Epple, an autonomous JLR vehicle should be just as capable as one with a driver in control. To that end, his engineers are working on an array of sensors, including radar, LIDAR, cameras and ultrasonics that can interpret the environment without conventional road infrastructure to guide it.
As yet, there’s no time frame on when any of these systems will be fitted to production cars. Individually they look entirely plausible, but making them all properly user-friendly and integrating them together will be a big job. They might start filtering through by the end of the decade.
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By Only Motors