Leading British car manufacturers, Jaguar Land Rover, are introducing innovative technologies that will allow autonomous cars to drive themselves over virtually any surface or terrain.
The company’s multi-million dollar autonomous all-terrain driving research project aims to make the self-driving car viable in the widest range of real life, on- and off-road driving environments and weather conditions.
While some Kiwis may be apprehensive of the reality of cars driving themselves, Jaguar Land Rover’s New Zealand general manager, Steve Kenchington, believes that the technology will ultimately be suited to our motoring conditions.
“Jaguar Land Rover’s vision is to offer autonomous driving on any terrain,” says Kenchington,
“Some of the technological advances unveiled by the company this week have been truly incredible. The idea of Kiwis leaving one of our major cities and heading up to a ski-field or to a remote beach in a vehicle driven by itself could become a reality much sooner than any of us expect,” he adds.
Jaguar Land Rover’s Head of Research, Tony Harper, says the technology being developed will give cars the ability to sense changes in terrain. In turn, this ability will be useful to both autonomous and people-driven cars.
“Our all-terrain autonomy research isn’t just about the car driving itself on a motorway or in extreme off-road situations,” says Harper.
“It’s about helping both the driven and autonomous car make their way safely through any terrain or driving situation,” he says.
The technology being developed combines camera, ultrasonic, radar and LIDAR sensors to give the car a 360 degree view of the world around it. In addition, the new technology will give the cars the ability to communicate with each other, especially if they are out of sight around a bend or on the other side of an off-road obstacle.
“The key enabler for autonomous driving on any terrain is to give the car the ability to sense and predict the 3D path it is going to drive through,” says Harper.
“This means being able to scan and analyse both the surface to be driven on, as well as any hazards above and to the sides of the path ahead.”
The new additions will not only change the safety features of self driven cars, but will change the way Kiwis are able to move about the different terrain from city to city.