Land Rover is indeed serious in providing their custsomers autonomous mobility for their SUVs. Just recently, the company finished testing a prototype, self-driving Range Rover Sport around Coventry Ring, one of the most complicated roads in the UK.
It was able to switch lanes, merge with traffic and exited junctions, all while following the 64 km/h speed limit (40 mph). The Range Rover Sport was able to do all these tasks with ease thanks to wide array of high-tech equipment that work together as the eyes, ears and brains of the Range Rover Sport.
Mounted in front of the modified Range Rover Sport is a radar which scans ahead for any obstacle or objects that may be in front of it. Meanwhile, a camera is placed in the middle of the windshield that focuses on the road ahead to help pick out vehicles, obstacles, as well as road markings. Placed on the roof, on the other hand, is a GPS which lets the system know its position on the road.
To further help the onboard system map out its surroundings, the self-driving prototype also comes with LIDAR sensors on each corner. These devices pick up environment data which help build 3D images for the car to navigate around. Finally, there's a wheel speed sensor that detects how fast the wheels are turning. This helps the car calculate speed and road condition in real-time.
All of these devices work simultaneously with the Range Rover's Sport adaptive cruise control and other key systems. With help from UK AutoDrive's research and data, the vehicle was able to drive by itself along roundabouts, stop at traffic lights; and detect pedestrians, cyclists, as well as other vehicles on the road. It can even park by itself.
“The Coventry Ring Road is known for its complicated slip roads and exits. It makes for very challenging conditions, especially when under pressure in the rush hour. Our self-driving car is not impacted by the same pressure, frustrations or fatigue that a driver may experience and so it’s capable of turning a potentially very stressful situation into a completely stress-free on,” said Mark Cund, Jaguar Land Rover Autonomous Vehicle Research Manager.
In the future, both Jaguar and Land Rover plan to integrate this technology to infrastructures which would further help the system navigate through cities and busy roadways. UK AutoDrive, on the other hand, is working on new systems that will allow fully- and semi-automated vehicle technologies to offer an 'engaged' or 'automated' drive. With it, Both JLR and AutoDrive UK plan on making self-driving technology usable in various terrains and weather conditions.
Jaguar Land Rover plans to make this type of technology available for their cars within 10 years. The project itself is part of £20 million government-funded UK Autodrive project that ends this month.