By on November 17, 2017

JLR Autonomous Testing

Jaguar Land Rover has taken its first steps into the scariest part of autonomous development — real world testing.

As most automakers are already deep into R&D work on self-driving cars, luxury manufacturers like JLR cannot afford to be late to the party. In today’s world, premium automobiles are less about ride quality or cabin space and more about having the latest and greatest tech. A big, comfortable car isn’t hard to come by — they used to build them all the time. They also aren’t particularly expensive, especially if you shop on the used market.

However, a 2005 Lincoln Town Car in the driveway doesn’t scream “prestige” to the neighbors. But an autonomous Range Rover that parks itself in the garage while you get the mail is something else entirely. If you had a vehicle like that, the guy across the street would have difficulty even holding your now-powerful gaze — shamed by his own car’s clear inferiority. Imagine what kind of price you might pay to have that kind of mastery over another person. Now you can see why this technology is so important to JLR.

JLR Autonomous Testing

“Testing this self-driving project on public roads is so exciting, as the complexity of the environment allows us to find robust ways to increase road safety in the future,” explained Nick Rogers, the company’s executive director of product engineering. “By using inputs from multiple sensors, and finding intelligent ways to process this data, we are gaining accurate technical insight to pioneer the automotive application of these technologies … We are supporting innovative research that will be integral to the infrastructure, technology and legal landscape needed to make intelligent, self-driving vehicles a reality within the next decade.”

The collaborative project he’s speaking of is UK Autodrive, which kicked off road-testing this Friday with Jaguar Land Rover, Ford Motor Co., and Tata Motors’ European Technical Center as participants. According to the group, this week’s kickoff represents the largest trial of connected and autonomous vehicle in the United Kingdom.

JLR Autonomous Testing

UK Autodrive is the largest of three consortia launched to encourage the introduction of self-driving cars in Europe. Previous tests were conducted in closed-testing environments or in virtual spaces. The United Kingdom only began testing autonomous vehicles in public spaces about a year ago, when a LUTZ Pathfinder made a mile journey through Milton Keynes at a snail’s pace.

Jaguar Land Rover intends to clip along at more competitive speeds (the Pathfinder never made it above 15 miles per hour). The company wants to know how other drivers respond to anonymous vehicles and how to replicate human behavior while driving. Meanwhile, Ford is focusing more on how to make connected cars communicate with each other effectively.

JLR Autonomous Testing

[Image: Jaguar Land Rover]

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11 Comments on “Jaguar Land Rover Enters the Autonomous Race, Test Vehicles on Public Roads...”

  • avatar

    “However, a 2005 Lincoln Town Car in the driveway doesn’t scream “prestige” to the neighbors. But an autonomous Range Rover that parks itself in the garage while you get the mail is something else entirely. If you had a vehicle like that, the guy across the street would have difficulty even holding your now-powerful gaze — shamed by his own car’s clear inferiority. ”

    Since it’s LR UK being discussed, is it some sort of a European M4M mating ritual for guys to stand in front of their houses and gaze intensely at other men while checking the mail to dominate over each other based on how much physical exertion one can avoid?

    Also, does the mating ritual become a sealed deal if the shamed male neighbor responds to the probe by deploying a personal service drone to retrieve his mail and read/sort it, signaling his dominance in the less prestigious yet all so symbolic mail retrieval arena?

    I guess if it floats their boats….

  • avatar

    Autopark is one of the few legit use cases, but it’s already here and not really part of the autonomous gold rush. Typically, JLR is all over advance features like this, more for PR than R&D, so imo this is just so they can say they are doing it, but really the question is ‘why?’

  • avatar

    I recognized the location of the top photo, it’s precisely here …

    A vehicle/pedestrian intersection with no lights, no curbs and no priorities. If autonomous cars are going to prove their mettle then they’ll need to repeatedly negotiate such obscure situations without killing anybody or snarling up the traffic.

  • avatar

    Warwickshire UK? I would have thought India would be a better place. Somewhere where there’s true MOTORING mayhem and cheap software engineers to help implement a solution.

    As for neighborhood thinks thing I’d want whatever was opaque or not seen.

  • avatar

    The UK is actually a very good place to test Autonomous cars largely because the UK government never signed up to a global convention which limits the use of autonomous cars…..

  • avatar

    Doesn’t it seem like self-driving cars are being developed just because they seem inevitable, and the since the other companies are doing it, our company has to as well? Cars have to have controls so humans can operate them some of the time, and when they inevitably break down, so that they can be moved out of the way. The driver becomes just a passive, lazy passenger instead of the person who makes decisions and actively participates in his life. Is it just sheer laziness that pushes autonomous cars, just an extension of power windows and automatic transmissions?
    Technology for technology’s sake is just silly.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    What, no Lucas jokes? I’m outta here.

  • avatar

    Now THAT’S safe- theres so much junk mounted on the dash and mirror that there’s only about four inches of clear space to see objects, cars and people slightly to the left. The car had better be good at autonomous driving!

  • avatar

    A blind person might disagree that autonomous cars are a waste of time as might anyone who wants a cheap taxi

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