While many car manufacturers all over the world are pursuing self driving technology to make it easy and convenient for their customers to get around towns and highways, one British SUV manufacturer is working on something else: off-road autonomy. 

The undeniable masters of luxurious all-terrain mobility, Land Rover, are developing a different degree of autonomous driving in the CORTEX project; a program to research and develop technology that can enable their models to go off-road autonomously.

“It’s important that we develop our self-driving vehicles with the same capability and performance customers expect from all Jaguars and Land Rovers,” said Chris Holmes, Jaguar Land Rover's Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research Manager. “Self-driving is an inevitability for the automotive industry and ensuring that our autonomous offering is the most enjoyable, capable and safe is what drives us to explore the boundaries of innovation.”

Key to the Land Rover CORTEX project is a technology the company calls a 5D technique. It combines inputs such as acoustic, video, radar, as well as light detection and distance sensing (LiDAR) to enable the vehicle to learn. The data improves the awareness of the vehicle's systems, enabling it to behave and handle any weather condition on any kind of terrain.

“CORTEX gives us the opportunity to work with some fantastic partners whose expertise will help us realise this vision in the near future,” continued Holmes.

Land Rover says they will develop technologies that are either fully-automated or semi automated, depending on the customer's choice, all to maintain the driving experience. The company wants to make the self-driving car viable in the widest range of real-life driving environments.

The company says they are are working on the algorithms, sensors, and physical testing of the technology on tracks around the United Kingdom. Land Rover says the University of Birmingham and Myrtle AI have joined them in the project.