Jaguar Land Rover has unveiled an autonomous Remote Control Range Rover Sport research vehicle, which, it says can maneuver “out of challenging situations safely” and “negotiate difficult off-road terrain”—via a smartphone app.
The new Jaguar Land Rover technology can control the vehicle’s steering, acceleration, and braking as well as switch between high- and low-range gearing from the app, and “become their own off-road spotter to guide the car over off-road obstacles from outside the vehicle.”
Working at speeds of up to 4mph and with a range of 10 metres, the system is being pitched as a way for users to traverse tricky off-road terrain – or tight urban spaces – without being inside the vehicle.
Jaguar Land Rover says future versions of the technology could include a function to allow drivers to issue spoken commands and have the vehicle follow them autonomously.
Land Rover said that the smartphone app “would allow the driver to ……….. continually check ramp, approach, and departure angles and allow precise positioning of the vehicle when rock crawling.” And it added that the self-driving technology could be an “invaluable aid when the vehicle is fording a stream or traversing sections made slippery by mud or snow.”
Jaguar Land Rover also unveiled technology capable of performing a 180 degree turn autonomously to aid in situations including dead-end roads and congested car parks.
Jaguar Land Rover director of research and technology Wolfgang Epple said:
“Getting a car out of a tricky parking manoeuvre can be a stressful experience for any driver. A remote control car, or a vehicle that can autonomously turn in the road, demonstrates how we could use these new technologies to reduce the tedious parts of driving and improve road safety.”
Jaguar Land Rover says it aims to offer a choice between ‘engaged’ or autonomous driving and that all autonomous vehicles must be capable in environments both on and off road, so enhancing the car’s sensing capability will be key to future developments.