Jaguar Land Rover has revealed some of the prototype technologies that its UK-based research team is developing to deliver autonomous driving in the future.
The company demonstrated its experimental remote control Range Rover Sport research vehicle to show how a driver could use a smart phone to drive the vehicle without being in it. The smartphone app includes control of steering, accelerator and brakes as well as changing from high and low range. This would allow the driver to walk alongside the vehicle, at a maximum speed of four mph, to maneuver the vehicle out of challenging situations safely, or even to negotiate difficult off-road terrain.
The driver could use the smartphone to reverse the vehicle out of a parking space if someone has parked too close for them to open the door, or allow the driver to become his own off-road spotter.
By walking alongside the car, the driver could continually check ramp, approach and departure angles and allow precise positioning of the vehicle when rock crawling. It could also be an invaluable aid when the vehicle is fording a stream or traversing sections made slippery by mud or snow. The remote control function will only operate if the user is within 10 meters of the car and if the smart key can be detected. The system will stop the vehicle if the driver moves out of range or gets too close.
Future possibilities for this technology could include more autonomous functionality where the driver gives a simple command from the handset to traverse an obstacle or exit a parking space, and the car does the rest.