Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) plans to create a fleet of more than 100 research vehicles over the next four years, to develop and test a wide range of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technologies. The first of these research cars will be driven on a new 41-mile (66km) test route on motorways and urban roads around Coventry and Solihull in the UK later this year.
JLR’s initial tests will involve vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications technologies that will allow cars to talk to each other and to roadside signs, overhead gantries and traffic lights. Ultimately, data sharing between vehicles would allow future connected cars to co-operate and work together to assist the driver, and make lane changing and crossing junctions easier and safer. The first batch of technologies to be tested will include:
Roadwork Assist, which uses a forward-facing stereo camera to generate a 3D view of the road ahead, and together with advanced image processing software, can recognize 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. The system will then apply a small amount of steering assistance to the wheel to help the driver remain centered in lane. With further research, in the future this system could enable the car to drive autonomously through roadworks.
Safe Pullaway, which uses the stereo camera to monitor the area immediately in front of the vehicle. If objects such as vehicles or walls are detected, and the system receives signals from throttle pedal activation or from incorrect gear selection that could lead to a collision, the vehicle brakes are automatically applied and the driver receives an audible warning.
Over The Horizon Warning, which is part of a research project testing devices that use radio signals to transmit relevant V2V data, so that drivers and autonomous cars could be warned of hazards and obstacles over the horizon or around blind bends, such as a stopped vehicle.
Emergency Vehicle Warning, which is a V2V system that allows ‘connected’ ambulances, police cars or fire engines to communicate with other vehicles on the road, so that they can then safely pull over and allow the emergency vehicle to pass.
Tony Harper, head of research at JLR, said, “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. Even when an enthusiastic driver is fully focused on enjoying the thrill of the open road, the new technology we are creating will still be working in the background to help keep them safe. Because the intelligent car will always be alert and is never distracted.”