Jaguar Land Rover shares its vision for autonomous urban mobility
Human drivers don't really have much of a future if projects like the Sociable Cart, Motiv and Origin are anything to go by. Vehicles that drive themselves – and you – around city streets and urban sprawls are coming, and Jaguar Land Rover has jumped into the development arena with Project Vector.
Unveiled in Coventry, UK, earlier today, Project Vector is part of Jaguar Land Rover's (JLR) Destination Zero mission, where urban people movers are autonomous, electric and connected for a zero emission, zero accident and zero congestion mobility future.
The electric vehicle at the heart of the latest announcement is described as "autonomy-ready" rather than fully self-driving, reflecting the need for a human driver to be aboard during the on-road pilot due to roll out next year – to take over should any problems arise. It's 4 m (13 ft) long and offers a spacious interior thanks to the batteries and electric drivetrain occupying the floor. The inside can be reconfigured for private use, ride sharing, or package deliveries, and more.
Beyond what can be seen in the accompanying photos, no further information has been made available about the vehicle. Like similar autonomous people movers, the Vector pod appears to have a low floor for lots of headroom, and wide-access sliding doors. It also looks capable of seating at least four passengers. But JLR is making us wait for performance specs such as per charge range.
The company predicts that ride-share and private vehicles of the future will need to smoothly integrate and communicate with public transit networks, "so you can travel on demand and autonomously." To this end, the company is working alongside academics and industry partners to work on connected, integrated mobility solutions that will presumably make their way into future design iterations. It's hoped that with vehicles chatting to each other and infrastructure as they roll along, car accidents and gridlock will be things of the past.
The company is now working with Coventry City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority to get the Vector pod on the road by late 2021 as part of a trial.