Autonomous vehicle tech has many permutations, but JLR’s implementation doesn’t stretch as far as being able to set off and bring itself places on its own, also known as self driving. It’s a drive-by-Bluetooth system that pairs the car, a Range Rover in this case, with a smartphone.
Once connected via the short-range wireless standard, it allows the driver to manoeuvre the vehicle through the use of on-screen controls should the car find itself in a situation where it’s risky for him or her to remain inside, or when it’s advantageous to have an outside perspective, or even to simply wiggle its way out of a ridiculously tight parking space where the driver can’t even open the door wide enough to gain access.
Through the app, the driver has control over the steering, brakes and accelerator, in addition to toggling between high and low range to a maximum speed of 6.5km/h, which is the typical brisk walking speed. The system also is only operable with the driver being within a 10 metre radius of the vehicle.
Not to alienate the city drivers, JLR’s system does also work in the urban setting, where competitor systems have focused their efforts: the parking lot. The automaker says it is developing a way for its cars to autonomously, through the use of a wide sensor array, execute 180 degree turns in extremely tight parking spaces – piloting as many moves as it would safely take to free the vehicle.
Jaguar Land Rover did not act alone, however, and this technology was developed with the UK Autodrive consortium that is delving into ADAS (Advanced driver assistance systems) technology, of which JLR is a member.
Dr. Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology at Jaguar Land Rover, says, "Getting a car out of a tricky parking manoeuvre can be a stressful experience for any driver. A remote control car, or a vehicle that can autonomously turn in the road, demonstrates how we could use these new technologies to reduce the tedious parts of driving and improve road safety.”
"Research into technologies like these won't only help us deliver an autonomous car. They will help make real driving safer and more enjoyable. The same sensors and systems that will help an autonomous car make the right decisions, will assist the driver and enhance the experience to help prevent accidents. Autonomous car technologies will not take away the fun of driving."