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Jaguar Land Rover signs up for CAV projects. Image by Jaguar.

Jaguar Land Rover signs up for CAV projects
Jaguar Land Rover taking part in £11m of connected and autonomous vehicle programmes
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What's all this about?

Jaguar Land Rover has announced it is taking part in two connected schemes that should help with autonomous driving in the future. The first, a £5.5 million project called Move-UK, is supported by £2.75million of Government grant funding, out of a pot of £100m for the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) Fund. The second is UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UK-Cite), another £5.5m programme, this time receiving £3.41m from Whitehall.

OK, so what is Move-UK about?

Employees of the London Borough of Greenwich will, on a daily basis, use a fleet of Jaguar and Land Rover cars that are fitted with masses of sensors. Data from this equipment will be analysed by JLR and the project's leading company, German electronics giant Bosch, to assess a human's natural driving behaviours and decision-making in heavy traffic flow. The aim is to then make autonomous cars drive less like a robot and more like a person.

Why are JLR and Bosch so keen on that idea?

Both companies reckon that customers will be 'much more likely to accept highly-automated and fully autonomous vehicles if the car reacts in the same way as the driver'. The data will also have the benefit of developing insurance policies for future autonomous cars, as industry experts can assess the liability of certain scenarios using the information collated by the JLR London fleet.

Does JLR intend to remove the driver from the process of driving, then?

Not at all. Dr Wolfgang Epple, JLR's director of Research and Technology, said: "To successfully introduce autonomous cars, we actually need to focus more on the driver than ever before. Understanding how drivers react to a range of very dynamic and random situations in the real world is essential if we want drivers to embrace autonomous cars in the future. Ultimately we want to be able to give drivers the choice of an engaged or autonomous drive."

OK, so tell me a little more about UK-Cite.

This has seen 41 miles of roads around Coventry and Solihull (respectively, Jaguar and Land Rover's ancestral homes) become a 'living laboratory', with roadside communications equipment installed along the routes. The CAV testing corridor will allow for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications, with five JLR research vehicles among a fleet of 100 motors taking part.

What's the thinking behind V2V and V2I?

Information can be shared between cars and other vehicles on the road - and also roadside infrastructure like traffic lights and overhead gantries. This means 'over the horizon' warnings of traffic issues would be possible, allowing for earlier re-routing of cars to prevent gridlock. Among the technologies here would be Co-operative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC), allowing vehicles to autonomously follow each other in close formation, an 'Emergency Vehicle Warning' system (that would recognise an ambulance, fire engine or police car approaching long before even the most attentive of drivers could hear the sirens or see the blue lights) and the removal of those annoying overhead motorway gantries that shout 'FOG!' at you when you're driving in 40-foot visibility at 33mph.

How would this system get rid of those?

A proper message infrastructure would beam the warnings direct to the dashboard of connected cars, removing the need for the physical gantry - each of which can cost £1m to install. Which would mean that you can personally revel in the utterly useless 'QUEUE AFTER NEXT JCT' missive in front of your face, rather than sharing in the misery with the thousands of other poor saps who are about to plough into a 16-mile tailback.

Matt Robinson - 2 Feb 2017

Jaguar Autonomous Tech. Image by Jaguar.Jaguar Autonomous Tech. Image by Jaguar.Jaguar Autonomous Tech. Image by Jaguar.Jaguar Autonomous Tech. Image by Jaguar.Jaguar Autonomous Tech. Image by Jaguar.

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