Conquering the road less travelled is truly a challenge even for experienced drivers. But what if technology would allow the novice who haven’t driven a single second on paved roads tackle the harshest terrain? That’s what Jaguar Land Rover is trying to develop with its latest project.
Dubbed as CORTEX, the project brings together leading technology and automotive experts, as well as academia to develop highly-capable self-driving vehicles. As such, the 30-month collaborative program will see the British carmaker build a self-driving off-road vehicle that’s capable of driving on any weather condition: dirt, rain, ice, snow, or fog.
For this to happen, the vehicle will make use of a five dimension technique consisting of acoustic, video, and radar sensors, as well as light detection and distance sensor (LiDAR). It will also use machine-learning to enable the car to process the data in real-time and behave in an increasingly sophisticated way, allowing it to handle any weather condition on any terrain.
The team will develop its technology through algorithm development, sensor optimisation, and physical testing in UK off-road tracks. The project vehicle will be available in fully or semi automated options, offering future owners a choice on level of automation.
Off-roading is a thrilling experience, especially if you’re the one behind the wheel. That makes us wonder why a brand that’s known for its vehicle’s off-road prowess will make an automated SUV.
Come to think of it, there are other reasons why people have to go off-road aside from the adrenaline rush they get. Disasters or relief operations in hard to reach areas would require vehicles that can tackle harsh environments quickly. Moreover, there’s never a guarantee that there’s an off-road expert to drive the medical or rescue team in raging waters or deep, slushy mud.
Jaguar Land Rover’s self-driving off-roader would be a gift for those in dire need of assistance in remote or disaster areas. In addition, the team can bring more cargo or personnel needed for the trip instead of allocating a seat for a dedicated off-road expert only to be useless at the destination. Maybe this self-driving SUV is actually a good idea.
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