Jaguar Land Rover has unveiled its Project Vector concept, a pod-like vehicle that envisions how it would address demand for autonomous vehicles in future urban infrastructure. You might see it testing in Coventry sooner rather than later.
JLR describes Project Vector as how it’s “developing tomorrow’s mobility, today”, and is a key next step in its Destination Zero plan. Indeed, this is not a future replacement for the upcoming all-electric XJ.
Rather, it’s a proposal for a mobility solution in parts of the world that are looking to evolve beyond the traditional driven car, as we know it today. It’s JLR’s vision of “an autonomous, electric, connected future for urban mobility”.
“Future urban travel will be a composite of owned and shared vehicles, access to ride-hailing and on-demand services as well as public transport,” explained Dr. Tim Leverton, project director.
“Shared and private vehicles will share spaces with and be connected to public transit networks, so you can travel on demand and autonomously. That is a complex task, best achieved by working together with partners across the spectrum of vehicles, infrastructure and the digital world.
”Our vision shows the vehicle as a flexible part of the urban mobility network that can be adapted for different purposes.”
Its battery down-low ‘skateboard’ design means that the platform can be very versatile. It measures just four metres in length, while the cabin allows for multiple configurations and uses.
These range from luxurious personal transit, to being a shared shuttle, and even a ‘last-mile’ delivery vehicle. Think of it as the next Addison Lee, Uber Luxe and DPD van, with a splash of urban tram, all rolled into one.
This experimental vehicle is also part of JLR’s study on how customers will connect with future mobility, and how the infrastructure will grow to meet it.
“It’s a unique opportunity,” explained chief engineer Professor Dr Gero Kempf.
”A concept platform designed and engineered around urban-centric use cases by a major car maker as a blank canvas, for developing tailored services and apps in the ecosystem of a smart city.”
JLR’s ‘living laboratory’ in Coventry
The most interesting part is that JLR wants Vector to go beyond many ‘future mobility’ concepts we’ve seen, which are at best a drawing board vision made 3D. Project Vector might well be put into action, with a collaboration planned with Coventry City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority.
The plan is for a mobility service from late 2021, as a “living laboratory for future mobility on the streets of Coventry”. Put simply, JLR might be deploying something like Project Vector in Coventry as some sort of futuristic tram for the road network. It’s how park and ride services across the UK could look ten years from now. Obviously, there is potential for more bespoke applications.
‘The brightest minds in academia’
“Project Vector shows Jaguar Land Rover as a leader in innovation to make our societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner,” said JLR CEO, Sir Ralf Speth.
”Through this project, we are collaborating with the brightest minds in academia, supply chain and digital services, to create connected, integrated mobility systems – the fundamental building blocks for Destination Zero.
“Project Vector is precisely the brave and innovative leap forward needed to deliver on our mission.”