Land Rover used to say it is the best 4x4xfar. Now it aims to move this claim into the autonomous age by developing vehicles that drive themselves off-road, with the launch of a new all-terrain autonomous programme called CORTEX.
The ambitious project has been announced with £3.7 million of funding, to develop vehicles that can drive themselves no matter what the weather and terrain – this includes dirt, rain, ice, snow and fog. Today’s driver-assist technology is frequently disabled when it rains: Land Rover aims to overcome this.
But it’s even more complex than that. The autonomous systems need to be able to read all types of terrain, no matter how steep, uneven or extreme. This is why the core of the project is the development of the world’s first ‘5D’ technology: it is this that will enable highest-level Level 4 and Level 5 off-road autonomy.
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Land Rover says 5D will combine acoustic, video, radar, light detection and distance sensing tech in real time, with the addition of machine learning to help the vehicle improve and get more sophisticated over time.
“It is important that we develop our self-driving vehicles with the same capability and performance customers expect from all Jaguars and Land Rovers,” said Jaguar Land Rover’s connected and autonomous vehicle research manager Chris Holmes.
“Self-driving is an inevitability for the automotive industry… CORTEX gives us the opportunity to work with some fantastic partners whose expertise will help us realise this vison in the near future.”
Land Rover will now work on the algorithm development, sensor optimisation and physical testing at off-road tracks throughout Britain – in association with the University of Birmingham and machine learning experts Myrtle AI.