a href="https://www.automobilemag.com/news/jaguar-land-rovers-future-april-2017/">Jaguar Land Rover has completed tests of an autonomous Range Rover Sport at the Horiba Mira Proving Ground in the U.K. The prototype is equipped with the company’s new Autonomous Urban Drive technology, which makes it capable of urban navigation and offers a preview of Level 4 autonomous capability – something JLR hopes to offer on its vehicles within the next decade.
To achieve this high level of automation, a vehicle must be able to drive itself without any human intervention in specific environments such as city or highway driving. To that end, the autonomous Range Rover Sport is equipped with technology allowing it to navigate through roundabouts, obey traffic lights, and perform other essential city driving duties by itself. Passengers can simply select a location, and the vehicle will decide the best route and take them there.
JLR’s autonomous Range Rover is part of a government- and industry-backed UK Autodrive research project that aims to bring autonomous vehicles to the U.K. Ford and Tata Motors European Technical Centre are also involved in the project, and together with JLR, the partners are working on technologies that will allow cars to communicate with each other as well as road infrastructure such as traffic lights.
Public trials are set to take place on closed roads around the U.K. by the end of the year. And in 2018, the tests will move to open roads.
Moving forward, JLR envisions building both fully and semi-autonomous vehicles so customers have a variety of choices. “We aren’t looking at simply replacing the driver, and making cars ‘driverless.’ Future technologies will give the driver more not less – they will assist and ultimately enhance the driving experience,” JLR Director of Engineering Research Tony Harper said in a statement.
There are six levels of autonomy as defined by SAE. Level 0 indicates the driver is the sole operator of the vehicle, while Level 5 signals the vehicle can drive itself in all situations without the need for a human.
Recently, the automaker partnered with Lyft to accelerate its ambitions toward autonomous vehicles. The partnership will help JLR develop and test its autonomous vehicles and give Lyft drivers access to a fleet of Jaguar and Land Rover models.