British prestige automaker commences testing its autonomous vehicle tech
Jaguar Land Rover is well under way putting its Over the Horizon autonomous vehicle procedures under test conditions as reported earlier this year.
The fleet of up to 100 vehicles are proving the effectiveness and safety of various functions like emergency braking and safe pull-away, emergency vehicle warning systems and roadwork traffic management routines.
Referred to as ‘Roadwork Assist’, this system has infrastructure talk to the vehicle about changed road and traffic conditions ahead, instructing it to reduce speed and change into the required lane to keep road workers and occupants safe. A 3D camera used advanced image processing software to recognise bollards, witches hats, informing the driver of narrowing lanes and contraflow ahead.
‘Safe Pullaway’ uses stereo-guided camera to recognise distance in front of the test vehicle to not hit the car in front and maintains a safe distance particularly when approaching intersections, allowing the preceding vehicle to accelerate without collision should the lead car hesitate. It also recognises walls, barriers and obstructions to avoid ‘touch-parking’. Have a look.
Lastly, ‘Emergency Vehicle Warning’ uses emergency vehicle-to-vehicle communication to warn traffic of an approaching ambulance, fire or police vehicle. This system is designed to alert drivers to move into the most appropriate lane (or pull over entirely) to increase response times and reduce potential accidents. See Over the Horizon at work here.
Head of Research at Jaguar Land Rover Tony Harper said everybody wins if this technology becomes mainstream.
“Our connected and automated technology could help improve traffic flow, cut congestion, and reduce potential for accidents,” he said. “We will also improve the driving experience, with drivers able to choose how much support and assistance they need. In traffic, the driver could choose autonomy assist during tedious or stressful journeys.”
“Even when an enthusiastic driver is fully focussed…the new technology will still be working in the background to help keep them safe,” he added. “The intelligent car will always be alert and is never distracted. It could guide you through roadworks and prevent accidents.”
Land Rover has also developed sophisticated vehicle autonomy technology to work in off-road environments. Called ‘Surface ID’, density scanners detect surface variations and textures in front of and beneath the vehicle and adjust throttle, suspension and differential settings to compensate. The test vehicles can also be navigated using a smartphone app, allowing for external remote-controlled driving in difficult terrain such as to traverse sharp crests or dangerous or poor-visibility off-road scenarios – or even tight carparks. Check out the video on JLR’s YouTube channel.