JLR News: Company Testing Self-Driving Inter-Communicating Cars, Joins Forces With Ford

Oct 24, 2016 06:20 AM EDT | Sovan Mandal

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Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Tata Motors have announced a partnership that aims to develop new self-driving and connected car technologies.

Interestingly, Ford is also pursuing its own efforts at establishing a fully autonomous car that will be able to drive entirely on its own. In fact, Ford has also stated its driver-less cars would be lacking the usual driving aids such as the steering or pedals.

In contrast, the JLR, Ford and Tata trio intend to develop technologies that will allow the car driving autonomy while those who enjoy their driving will also be able to chip in as well. That points to a semi-autonomous sort of a setup where the car takes up control during a tedious phase while drivers can always opt to drive when they want to.

Another aspect that makes the trio's initiative stand apart from any other is that it is also aiming for self-driving systems that allow the vehicle to drive over off-road surfaces as well,  besides being able to steer itself on paved surfaces in an urban scenario, Autocar reported. This is quite unlike similar efforts from other automakers that are almost entirely restricted to driving over the urban landscape.

The cars will also be able to communicate among themselves to make them further aware of each other's presence. Communication with traffic infrastructure like the traffic lights is also being attempted. Termed, "Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory," the technology ensures the car is moving at just the right speed so as to avoid red lights. This, in turn, will help in increasing fuel efficiency while reducing stoppage times at red lights. The flow of traffic will be more synchronized too, reducing chances of traffic snarls.

"The benefits of having cars that can communicate with each other and their surroundings could be very significant - from increased road safety to improved traffic flow, more efficient parking and better information for drivers," Tim Armitage, director of the UK Autodrive project said. 

Another JLR technology being previewed is "Advanced Highway Assist," a system that allows hands-free driving on highways. This way, the car is also able to overtake other cars on its own while keeping an eye on possible blind spots.

"Electronic Emergency Brake Light Assist" is another technology that is being showcased and is designed to warn the driver if the vehicle ahead had attempted hard braking. The system is designed to work even in severely reduced visibility conditions and has a range of about 500 meters.

The above initiative forms part of the £20 million ($24m) UK Autodrive research and development project, Daily Mail reported. The aim is to perfect driver-less and connected car technology over three years. Initial trials are planned in Nuneaton followed by trials along closed sections of Milton Keynes and Coventry. Trails along open stretches are planned next in 2018.

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