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Land Rover researches off-road autonomous possibilities. Image by JLR.

Land Rover researches off-road autonomous possibilities
Sensors and cameras mean Land Rovers of the future could off-road all by themselves.
<< earlier Land Rover article     later Land Rover article >>

 


News homepage -> Land Rover news

What's all this about?

Land Rover wants to bring autonomous cars to market. But not just ones that can follow the path of the M6. These should be self-driving off-road too.

Not a lot of lane markings to follow in the wilderness of the Scottish Highlands, are there?

No indeed, but the technology Land Rover was showing off - still some way from market, mind - uses lots and lots of sensors and clever software.

What have we got, then?

Surface Identification and 3D Path Sensing uses camera, ultrasonic, radar, and light detection, along with ranging (lidar) sensors to give the car a 360-degree view of the world around it. These are such impressive items that they can determine surface characteristics down to the width of a tyre, even in rain and falling snow, so that the Landie (or Rangie) can pick its way through the scenery with ease. It scans up to five metres ahead of the car and also looks for overhead problems, like overhanging tree branches or, er... car park barriers (not a lot of those in the wild, but we digress...) and avoid them or stop and give its driver a warning if the car is over-height. And you can even programme in lifestyle items like roof boxes and bicycles, so it knows precisely how tall the car is.

Nice. What else is there?

Terrain-Based Speed Adaption uses cameras to sense bumpy terrain, including washboard roads, potholes and standing water, and then does some sort of arcane calculation based on various indecipherable algorithms to work out what will be the most comfortable speed, in terms of ride quality, at which to traverse such terrain.

What if I'm adventuring with a friend in a similar LR product?

You're in luck. Dedicated Short Range Communications uses vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) comms so that DSRC-equipped cars can talk to one another. The system shares information including vehicle location, wheel-slip, changes to suspension height and wheel articulation, as well as All-Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) and Terrain Response settings instantly between the two (or more) Land Rover machines, forming an Off-Road Connected Convoy that follows very neatly in the tyre treads of a lead car through hostile landscapes.

This all sounds very clever. What else does Land Rover say?

We know these technologies are not due out in the next six months, but we could be looking at the sooner rather than later. Tony Harper, head of research for Jaguar Land Rover, said: "Our all-terrain autonomy research isn't just about the car driving itself on a motorway or in extreme off-road situations. It's about helping both the driven and autonomous car make their way safely through any terrain or driving situation. We don't want to limit future highly automated and fully autonomous technologies to tarmac. When the driver turns off the road, we want this support and assistance to continue. In the future, if you enjoy the benefits of autonomous lane keeping on a motorway at the start of your journey, we want to ensure you can use this all the way to your destination, even if this is via a rough track or gravel road."



Matt Robinson - 12 Jul 2016


Jaguar Land Rover demonstrates all-terrain self-driving research. Image by JLR.Jaguar Land Rover demonstrates all-terrain self-driving research. Image by JLR.Jaguar Land Rover demonstrates all-terrain self-driving research. Image by JLR.Jaguar Land Rover demonstrates all-terrain self-driving research. Image by JLR.Jaguar Land Rover demonstrates all-terrain self-driving research. Image by JLR.

Jaguar Land Rover demonstrates all-terrain self-driving research. Image by JLR.Jaguar Land Rover demonstrates all-terrain self-driving research. Image by JLR.   








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