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Jaguar Land Rover develops tech for all-terrain autonomous cars

Jaguar Land Rover is working on technology for autonomous cars that will enable them to drive on any terrain.

Jaguar Land Rover demonstrates all-terrain self-driving research

Jaguar Land Rover demonstrates all-terrain self-driving research

The research project aims to enable autonomous cars to drive in the widest range of real life, on and off-road driving environments and weather conditions, helped by next-generation sensing technologies.

Ultrasonic sensors will detect surface conditions five metres in front of the car and identify grass, gravel, sand and snow before the car drives over them. The car will automatically slow down when it detects bumpy terrain or standing water ahead.

The carmaker is also working on ‘Overhead Clearance Assist’ technology using stereo camera technology to scan ahead for overhead obstructions, eg branches overhanging a track or a car park overhead barrier.

Tony Harper, head of research, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Our all-terrain autonomy research isn’t just about the car driving itself on a motorway or in extreme off-road situations. It’s about helping both the driven and autonomous car make their way safely through any terrain or driving situation.

“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.”

In addition, JLR is working on car-to-car communication to link a convoy of vehicles in any off-road environment and has demonstrated an ‘Off-Road Connected Convoy’ using two Range Rover Sports.

Harper said: “In the future, a convoy of autonomous vehicles would use this information to automatically adjust their settings or even change their route to help them tackle the obstacle.

“Or for the ultimate safari experience, cars following in convoy would be told by the lead car where to slow down and stop for their passengers to take the best photographs.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.