GWA take a look behind the scenes at Jaguar – Land Rovers Future Technology to give you an insight as to what is to come over the next few years.

Jaguar Land Rover is set to start testing connected and autonomous vehicle technologies, with a fleet of more than 100 cars planned to be involved over the next four years.

The group will begin trials later this year on a new 41 mile test route set up on a mixture of urban roads and motorways around Coventry and Solihull. This living laboratory will see vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-grid communication tests.

The combination of autonomous and connected systems, aim to make driving safer and less stressful. JLR’s head of research Tony Harper says: “Our connected and automated technology could help improve traffic flow, cut congestion and reduce the potential for accidents.

“We will also improve the driving experience, with drivers able to choose how much support and assistance they need. In traffic, for example, the driver could choose autonomy assist during tedious or stressful parts of the journey.

The systems that are being tested include:

Safe Pullaway
Safe Pullaway aims to prevent low speed collisions by using cameras. Driving in traffic jams or pulling out of junctions are common causes of accidents, while sometimes drivers crash into walls by putting the car into the wrong gear, heading forward when they intended to go backwards out of a garage for example.
Safe Pullaway monitors the area immediately in front of the vehicle and, if objects such as vehicles or walls are detected and the system receives signals from throttle pedal activation or from gear selection that could lead to a collision, the vehicle’s brakes are automatically applied and the driver receives an audible warning.

Overhead Clearance Assist
The Overhead Clearance Assist has on and off road functions. Designed to prevent vehicles from being damaged by either low car park barriers or low hanging trees depending on the terrain being tackled.
The system currently has 3 settings to account for any other roof top accessories including roof boxes, bicycles or a manual setting for other items such as Kayaks. The camera measures the height of upcoming obstructions and gives the driver a countdown in metres. JLR say this technology is key to the development of autonomous cars.

Roadwork Assist
Roadwork Assist uses a forward facing stereo camera to generate a 3D view of the road ahead and can recognise road furniture such as cones and barriers. The system will sense when the vehicle is approaching the start of the roadworks, identify an ideal path through complicated construction sites and contraflows, and inform the driver that the road is narrowing ahead. It will then apply a small amount of steering assistance to the wheel to help the driver remain centred in lane.

Over the Horizon Warnings
Over the Horizon Warning is a project that is testing using radio signals for vehicle to vehicle communication. This would allow cars further down the road to warn drivers of upcoming hazards out of sight. If a vehicle has slowed or stopped, and poses a risk to other motorists, it would send a “Hazard Ahead” warning to nearby vehicles. Approaching vehicles will then receive a visual and audible warning, informing the driver of the hazard.
The system would not only make journeys safer but also has the potential to reduce the number of traffic jams, improving both road capacity and vehicle emissions in the area.

Co-operative Adaptive Cruise Control
Also known as platooning, this new technology is being trialled by other brands such as Volvo. The UK Government believes this could also be used for trucks. The system operates by vehicles communicating with each other via radar to constantly change braking and acceleration. When the car in front brakes or changes speed the car behind will immediately respond. The system is also being trialled for off road use allowing cars to travel in convoy and will notify all parties if one car has fallen behind.

Terrain Based Speed Adaption
Land rover already offers a basic system for low speed cruise control. The new system will maintain a steady speed from 1-18 mph automatically when off roading. The camera system reads the terrain up to 30 meters ahead and will adapt the vehicles speed accordingly.
The driver has to steer the vehicle but the system will take care of the acceleration and braking. The camera will also scan the surface type so will know instantly if you are on grass, mud, sand or snow preventing and loss in traction.

From what we have seen, there are some very relevant advances in technology coming to the next generation of JLR products that we can all make use of. This is all technology being trialled ready for the wave of autonomous vehicles primed to hit our roads, but is very reassuring that levels of safety for both drivers and pedestrians is being constantly increased.
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