The car-of-the-future designed by Jaguar-Land Rover is able to self-drive its way around town and has just passed a series of determining tests.
During the special UK Autodrive event, which was held in the UK on 22nd June, various key tests were carried out on a vehicle developed by the Jaguar-Land Rover group, whose innovative "Autonomous Urban Drive" technology enables the car to tackle roundabouts, junctions and traffic lights without any driver intervention.
UK Autodrive: a collaboration between Jaguar-Land Rover, Ford and Tata Motors
American manufacturer Ford and India's Tata Motors are also involved in UK Autodrive, a large-scale project sponsored by the British government with a budget of around 20 million GBP. The project brings together car manufacturers, suppliers and UK universities in a three-year collaboration focusing on connected and autonomous driving technologies.
Though UK Autodrive naturally focuses on research, development and the integration of automated and connected vehicles – earning it the status of the world's leading centre in this field – its studies include various other related aspects, such as security (in particular cybersecurity), rights and insurance, as well as the acceptance of autonomous vehicles in the public domain.
Urban demonstrations as early as next year
Tests are currently being carried out in closed-off areas in Milton Keynes, to the north of London, and Coventry, in the West Midlands, but UK Autodrive has announced that public tests and demonstrations will be carried out in these two cities in 2018.
The Range Rover Sport – the model currently being tested – has already passed the "level 4" autonomy tests, the last stage before total autonomy, which means that the cars can drive themselves around specific settings such as an urban environment.
Technology that could save lives
In addition to autonomous or semi-autonomous driving (Jaguar-Land Rover hopes to offer its clients a choice of both), thanks to its on-board signalling systems, this vehicle of the future should also be able to choose the best route to avoid traffic jams and roadworks, detect potholes and alert the highways department, as well as adapting to different types of terrain and weather conditions.
Better still, it should be able to detect collision risks at dangerous junctions and alert passengers when emergency vehicles are approaching, which will make it easier for the emergency services to access accident or crime scenes.
This function will prove valuable for the fire service as well as the medical services and the police, who are often hindered by traffic jams. It is worth noting that no fewer than 475 road accidents involving emergency vehicles occurred in 2015 in the United Kingdom. These accidents could be avoided thanks to self-driving cars!
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