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Jaguar Land Rover to launch fleet of autonomous vehicles

Initial tests will involve communications technologies that will allow cars to talk to each other and signs, gantries and traffic lights

The forward-facing camera scans cones and barriers ahead
The forward-facing camera scans cones and barriers ahead

Jaguar Land Rover will begin “real-world tests” of self-driving cars later this year.


Over the next four years, the carmaker plans to establish a fleet of more than 100 research vehicles that will be equipped with advanced connected and autonomous features that aim to reduce driver stress and help prevent accidents.


“Our connected and automated technology could help improve traffic flow, cut congestion and reduce the potential for accidents,” said Tony Harper, head of research, Jaguar Land Rover. “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.”


Initial trials will take place on a new 41-mile test route on motorways and urban roads around Coventry and Solihull close to where the company’s manufacturing plants are located. 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, the company said.


Jaguar Land Rover will also be testing several other innovative safety features which include:


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. The system will sense when the vehicle is approaching the start of roadworks, identify an ideal path through complicated construction sites and contraflows, and inform the driver that the road is narrowing ahead. The system will then apply a small amount of steering assistance to the wheel to help the driver remain centred in lane.


Safe Pullaway Jaguar Land Rover’s assistance system uses a 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. If a vehicle has slowed or stopped, and poses a risk to other motorists, it would send a ‘hazard ahead’ warning to nearby vehicles. Approaching vehicles will then receive a visual and audible warning, informing the driver of the hazard.

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