Jaguar Land Rover has demonstrated how self-driving cars can help cut traffic in Milton Keynes, with a public trial on open roads showing how autonomous vehicles can search for parking spots by themselves – and then automatically self-park within them.
The trial is part of a project JLR is running with self-driving consortium UK Autodrive.
Experts reckon autonomous cars could significantly cut city centre traffic, by slashing the number of cars driving round simply looking for spaces. Using information from ‘connected’ parking bays, the autonomous Jaguars and Land Rovers demonstrated how futuristic cars could instantly route to the nearest free bay at the end of your journey.
The ‘self-driving valet’ would then park your car for you in the bay.
Joerg Schlinkheider, JLR chief engineer for automated driving, said: “We’re investing heavily in automated technologies to make our customers’ lives safer and more convenient.
“Reducing the everyday stresses of driving – like squeezing into a tight parking place – means that we can all focus on the more enjoyable aspects of our cars.”
On the roads of Milton Keynes, JLR also showed two advanced driver aid features, called Emergency Vehicle Warning and Electronic Emergency Brake Light. Both of these connected car features involve vehicles ‘talking’ to one another, and to their surroundings.
Emergency Vehicle Warning can sense when a blue light emergency services vehicle, such as a police car or ambulance, is approaching – and which direction it is coming from.
Electronic Emergency Brake Light can detect when a connected car up ahead is braking heavily and instantly sound a warning in the car – “potentially giving drivers several additional seconds to avoid a possible collision”.
News of the JLR demonstration comes days after an autonomous Uber test vehicle hit and killed a pedestrian in Arizona. Uber has since paused all testing of its autonomous vehicles on public roads.