Jaguar Land Rover is powering ahead in its pursuit of a driverless future, showing off its so-called Autonomous Urban Drive technology as it gears up for public trials. The technology is designed to steer a vehicle through urban streets, and is a step towards level four autonomy where cars can operate independently in these types of environments.
Jaguar Land Rover hopes to achieve level four autonomy within the next decade. These levels range from zero (no automation) to five (full automation), and fellow automotive giant Honda is another big name to commit to building cars capable of level four.
Level four means that the car can be driven without human intervention, provided it is operating in a specific environment, be that a trip down the freeway or through busy city streets. With this future in mind, Jaguar Land Rover has fitted out a Range Rover Sport with its Autonomous Urban Drive tech, which allows the passenger to simply enter a location and have the vehicle choose and follow the best route.
The car uses GPS for navigation, along with radar and camera to detect nearby vehicles and obstacles, making its way through traffic lights, roundabouts and T intersections to bring the passenger to their destination. So far this has been tested at a closed research facility in the UK, but the company says it is now ready to be unleashed on public roads.
Trials on public roads will begin in Milton Keynes and Coventry before the year is out. At first, these roads will be closed but if all goes to plan, the autonomous vehicles will be roaming around in open-road trials and demonstrations by summertime (northern hemisphere) 2018.