Jaguar Land Rover this week revealed the fruits of its research into self-driving technology in a preview of a suite it’s calling Autonomous Urban Drive.
The test took place at the HORIBA MIRA automotive proving ground in the UK Midlands as part of a demo of technologies Land Rover is developing with its parent company, Tata Motors, and the Ford Motor Company. All three companies are collaborating with the British government on a research project called Autodrive.
JLR says its system is capable of Level 4 autonomy, which is just one step below what’s required for a car to operate entirely without a human driver behind the wheel. The automaker says it plans to have Autonomous Urban Drive available in a production vehicle in the next 10 years.
In the proving ground test, a self-driving 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport navigated a simulated urban drive route, navigating roundabouts, T-intersections and traffic lights. The next step will move closer to real-world conditions, with closed-road testing on public roads in Milton Keynes and Coventry, before open-road evaluations next year.
Beyond simply avoiding negotiating turns and avoiding obstacles, Autonomous Urban Drive has also been engineered to find the most efficient route to a destination, including avoid congested roads, where possible.
JLR, Tata and Ford are also working with Autodrive to develop the connected vehicle technology that will allow the cars to communicate with each other and with the surrounding infrastructure.
Despite all the work JLR has put into making cars that can drive themselves, the company says its real goal is to “enhance the driving experience,” rather than simply take driving duties away from humans entirely.
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