When it comes to automated driverless cars most of the pack are hard at it teaching the computers to understand curbs and traffic lights but not Jaguar Land Rover. In fairness JLR has always led from the front when it comes to quality and for a brand synonymous with adventure it’s only natural they are training their automated cars to understand terrain, weather and environments.
Currently JLR are testing off-road convoy connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) that can not only sense the condition of the ground but obstacles suspended in air, handy for avoiding hanging boulders and branches then.
Tony Harper, head of JLR’s research claims the cars should have technology for both driven and autonomous saying “Our all-terrain autonomy research isn’t just about the car driving itself on a motorway or in extreme off-road situations. We don’t want to limit future highly automated and fully autonomous technologies to tarmac. When the driver turns off the road, we want this support and assistance to continue. In the future, if you enjoy the benefits of autonomous lane keeping on a motorway at the start of your journey, we want to ensure you can use this all the way to your destination, even if this is via a rough track or gravel road. So whether it’s a road under construction with cones and a contraflow, a snow-covered road in the mountains or a muddy forest track, this advanced capability would be available to both the driver AND the autonomous car, with the driver able to let the car take control if they were unsure how best to tackle an obstacle or hazard ahead. We are already world leaders in all terrain technologies: these research projects will extend that lead still further.”
It will work by a combination of cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors enabling the car a 360˚ – 3D awareness of up to five metres. Combined with an artificial intelligence it will be able to select its best route taking into consideration the terrain, weather even tyre width changing the car drive settings to proceed. Once the driver programs the height of the car to include any roof tents or racks added the car would scan ahead and warn the driver via the infotainment touchscreen that there is inadequate clearance underneath an approaching barrier.
Jaguar Land Rover have just released a video showing the first stage of this advancement showing two vehicles (V2V) wirelessly communicating with Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) creating an off-road connected convoy. This enables the cars to share information instantly on each other’s location but more importantly suspension height, wheel articulation, all-terrain control and response settings. This means in a ten-car Safari convoy where the lead car slips on a boulder or buries its self in sand this data sharing will allow the following cars to adjust programs and routes based on the received information it can even highlight places to stop for the best photo.
Will this take away some of the camaraderie and banter enjoyed when adventuring, who knows but it will certainly allow the driver to enjoy the view a lot more and don’t forget it is optional so when all else fails humanly just push the button and enjoy not having to unstrap your waffle boards.
Check o ut the video below …