Just nine months after setting up a £11 million research fund into autonomous vehicle technology, Jaguar Land Rover has announced that it plans to have 100 driverless cars out on the streets by 2020.
In October, the company began working with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPSRC) with the plan of creating fully autonomous cars.
So far the partnership has been fruitful and Jaguar's head of research Tony Harper is pleased with how much progress has been achieved in such a short amount of time, saying: “Our connected and automated technology could help improve traffic flow, cut congestion and reduce the potential for accidents.”
Jaguar believes that this new technology will help improve the overall driving experience and its implementation allows users to choose to what degree they wish to employ it during their excursions. Harper stressed that the flexibility of the company's system, saying: “We will also improve the driving experience with drivers able to choose how much support and assistance they need. In traffic, for example, the driver could choose autonomy assist during tedious or stressful parts of the journey.”
The company is well aware that reason its customers drive is to get from point A to point B and its entire driverless experience has been tailored to do just that. However, Jaguar's technology will continue to work even when a driver has disengaged their vehicle's autonomous mode providing information and keeping them safe from obstacles that are now within their view.
Harper explained how the company's technology will do just this, saying: “Because the intelligent car will always be alert and is never distracted, it could guide you through road works and prevent accidents.”
"If you are a keen driver, imagine being able to receive a warning that there's a hazard out of sight or around a blind bend. Whether it's a badly parked car or an ambulance heading your way, you could slow down, pass the hazard without fuss and continue on your journey."
Putting 100 driverless vehicles on the road by 2020 is an ambitious goal but given the progress Jaguar has made so far it certainly seems possible.
Even if the company fails to meet its goal, its take on how this technology should work with and not for drivers is definitely a unique approach that other auto mobile manufacturers might end up adopting.
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