Jaguar Land Rover researchers recently unveiled autonomous prototype technologies designed to enhance the driving experience, including the Remote Control Rover Sport, the Multi-Point Turn Range Rover Sport and the Solo Car.
The Remote Control Range Rover Sport demonstrates how drivers could operate a vehicle outside their car using their smartphone, according to a news release. The smartphone app gives drivers control of steering, accelerating and braking. Drivers could walk alongside their car at a maximum speed of 4 mph to safely maneuver cars out of challenging situations, including negotiating off-road terrain.
The app would also give users the ability to back their car out of a parking space if they can’t open the car door, and to guide their car over off-road obstacles. The remote control option will only be activated when the user is within 10 meters of the car and the smart key can be detected.
This technology offers many possibilities, and could eventually include more autonomous functions that allow drivers to give a simple command from the handset, according to the release.
The Multi-Point Turn Range Rover Sport is also among the technologies Jaguar’s UK-based researchers are working to develop. The car will autonomously maneuver through 180 degrees to turn in the road and point in the opposite direction, according to the release. This would be useful in a variety of difficult situations, including congested car parks, dead-end roads and the three-point turn on a busy street or car park.
To complete the turn, the system will use sensors to assess available space and avoid collisions with other objects, according to the release. The system takes over gear selection, braking, steering and acceleration.
Researchers are also working on a system that would scan the environment around the car to tell the driver if it’s safe to make the turn, according to the release.
“Research into technologies like these won’t only help us deliver an autonomous car. They will help make real driving safer and more enjoyable,” said Dr. Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology at Jaguar Land Rover, according to the release. “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.”
Researchers are also working to develop the “Solo Car” with enhanced sensing, according to the release. Through this project, they’re developing a range of sophisticated sensors to make autonomous cars viable in various environments and weather conditions. The car will feature radar, LIDAR, cameras, ultrasonics and structured light technology.
“We know our customers drive in heavy rain and snow, and bright desert sunshine every day,” Dr. Epple said, according to the release. “We are working on an array of new sensors that would enable a car to operate in any environment, without any outside intervention or input from lane markings or roadside infrastructure like traffic lights. Our research engineers have a nickname for a car with this level of capability: the ‘Solo Car.'”