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Jaguar Land Rover to begin real-world testing of autonomous vehicle technology

Jaguar Land Rover has announced it will field-test 100 research vehicles in the UK to test connected and autonomous vehicle technology.

UK CAR MARKER Jaguar Land Rover has announced it will begin real-world testing of 100 research vehicles in the UK, over the next four years, to further develop connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.

The first of these research cars will be driven on a new 41 mile test route on motorways and urban roads around Coventry and Solihull later this year.

“The initial tests will involve vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications technologies that will allow cars to talk to each other and roadside signs, overhead gantries and traffic lights. Ultimately, data sharing between vehicles would allow future connected cars to co-operate and work together to assist the driver and make lane changing and crossing junctions easier and safer,” Jaguar Land Rover said in a statement.

“Our connected and automated technology could help improve traffic flow, cut congestion and reduce the potential for accidents. 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. But even when an enthusiastic driver is fully focussed on enjoying the thrill of the open road, the new technology we are creating will still be working in the background to help keep them safe. Because the intelligent car will always be alert and is never distracted, it could guide you through road works and prevent accidents. If you are a keen driver, imagine being able to receive a warning that there’s a hazard out of sight or around a blind bend. Whether it’s a badly parked car or an ambulance heading your way, you could slow down, pass the hazard without fuss and continue on your journey,” said Jaguar Land Rover head of research, Tony Harper.

The technologies being tested include Roadwork Assist, Safe Pullaway and Over the Horizon Warning. 

Roadwork Assist uses a forward-facing stereo camera to generate a 3D view of the road ahead and together with advanced image processing software, it can recognise cones and barriers. 

“Driving through congested roadworks can be a stressful experience for many people – especially when the lanes narrow and switch to the other side of the road, or if road markings are faint, obscured or missing. To overcome this, our prototype system will guide the vehicle to the centre of the narrow lane, reducing driver workload and stress. With further research, in the future this system could enable the car to drive autonomously through roadworks,” Harper said.

Safe Pullaway uses the stereo camera to monitor the area immediately in front of the vehicle. If objects such as vehicles or walls are detected, and the system receives signals from throttle pedal activation or from gear selection that could lead to a collision, the vehicle brakes are automatically applied and the driver receives an audible warning.

Over the Horizon Warning is “part of a research project testing devices that use radio signals to transmit relevant data from vehicle to vehicle. If vehicles were able to communicate independently, drivers and autonomous cars could be warned of hazards and obstacles over the horizon or around blind bends,” Jaguar Land Rover said.

Other systems being explored include Hazard Ahead and Emergency Vehicle Warning.


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober