Jaguar Land Rover develops off-road self-driving tech image

The British automaker said it was working on an autonomous tech that would allow its cars to drive on any road surfaces.

While almost all the automakers are focusing on developing self-driving systems for highway cruising, Jaguar Land Rover wants to bring the tech off-road. Called Autonomous all-terrain driving, the research project is focusing on surface identification and 3D path sensing that combines camera, ultrasonic, radar and LIDAR sensors to give the car a 360-degree view of the surrounding world.

“Our all-terrain autonomy research isn’t just about the car driving itself on a motorway or in extreme off-road situations. We don’t want to limit future highly automated and fully autonomous technologies to tarmac,“ Tony Harper, head of research for JLR, said.

The system is able to identify surface conditions by scanning up to five metres ahead, so Terrain Response settings could be automatically adjusted before the car plunges from dry tarmac to snow or to other slippery and challenging surface. JLR is also working on an Overhead Clearance Assist feature that uses stereo camera technology to scan for any obstructions such as branches or barriers, as well as on a Terrain-based Speed Adaption tech to sense a bumpy terrain.

Jaguar Land Rover is also testing a wireless vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications system that shares information between cars, including vehicle location, wheel-slip, changes to suspension height and wheel articulation, as well as All-Terrain Progress Control and Terrain Response settings.

“This V2V communications system can seamlessly link a convoy of vehicles in any off-road environment. If a vehicle has stopped, other vehicles in the convoy will be alerted – if the wheels of drop into a hole, or perhaps slip on a difficult boulder, this information is transmitted to all of the other vehicles,” Harper said.