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Jaguar Land Rover automatic door is an ‘invisible valet’

Jaguar Land Rover automatic door

Jaguar Land Rover has unveiled a mobility door prototype that uses motion sensors and keyless technology to open automatically as the driver approaches.

The tech, which JLR likens to an ‘invisible valet’, is designed for disabled people for whom a car is their main form of transport. It also has benefits for those carrying child seats or large items, as the driver no longer has to free a hand to open the door.

Once inside, occupants can close the door courtesy of an overhead button – similar to the system used in a Rolls-Royce. Radar sensors are fitted to ensure the door doesn’t open into objects, while the doors can be programmed to lock as you walk away.

Former Royal Marine and gold medal-winning Invictus athlete, Commando Mark Ormrod, is trialling the system for JLR. He said the technology could change the lives of motorists with mobility problems.

He commented: “This innovative Jaguar Land Rover technology would be such a benefit to me and has real power to change lives for those who face problems getting in and out of the car.

“Opening and closing the car door may seem like such an insignificant task to many people but sometimes it’s the small, everyday obstacles which people take for granted that are most frustrating to overcome for those living with disabilities.”

Technology for all

Range Rover Sport automatic door

The system was tested on a rig for six months before being fitted to a Range Rover Sport. Far from restricting the technology to disabled groups, JLR sees the automatic doors as being relevant to all future vehicles.

Xu Zhou, deep learning technical research manager at JLR, said: “The mobility door is an exciting piece of technology that offers a real-world value to our customers. There’s also something very welcoming about the door opening on your approach – something we think will be greatly valued as we become more familiar with shared mobility.”

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JLR Virtual Eye autonomous test pod

Jaguar Land Rover is testing new self-driving vehicles with EYES

JLR Virtual Eye autonomous test pod

No, you’re not watching Disney Pixar’s Cars. Jaguar Land Rover really is putting eyes on cars, albeit for the purposes of research into pedestrian trust of autonomous cars.

You won’t be seeing Range Rovers with big eyes on the windscreen anytime soon, though. The “virtual eyes” are only being fitted to self-driving pod research vehicles… for now.

It may sound quite amusing but it’s a chuckle-worthy means to a rather serious end – developing the software and modifying the ‘behaviour’ of autonomous cars so they’re better prepared to deal with the unpredictable, very human-infested world of commuting.

The project is the baby of a team of cognitive psychologists, hired by Jaguar Land Rover to find out more about how vehicle behaviour affects people’s confidence in new technologies. The autonomous pods are to drive around makeshift streets in Coventry while the behaviour of pedestrians is analysed.

This is where the ‘eyes’ come in, as the pods make ‘eye contact’ with nearby pedestrians on their travels. That, in theory, should put that passer-by at ease: making eye contact with the ‘eyes’ acknowledges they’ve been recognised by the car.

Trust levels are recorded in instances with and without use of the ‘eyes’, presumably to result in pedestrians trusting in the car that’s ‘seen’ them more. 

JLR is carrying out the study in response to previous studies which have suggested that nearly two in three pedestrians and cyclists say they’d feel less safe sharing the streets with self-driving cars.

“It’s second-nature to glance at the driver of the approaching vehicle before stepping into the road. Understanding how this translates in tomorrow’s more automated world is important” said Pete Bennett, Future Mobility Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover.

“We want to know if it is beneficial to provide humans with information about a vehicle’s intentions or whether simply letting a pedestrian know it has been recognised is enough to improve confidence.”

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Silverstone classic racers

Jaguar Land Rover is not going to buy Silverstone

Silverstone classic racersJaguar Land Rover (JLR) has announced it has ended negotiations to buy the Silverstone circuit from the British Racing Driver’s Club (BRDC).

The two organisations have been in discussions since spring 2016 about a deal that would see JLR either buy or lease the racetrack, which is home to the British Grand Prix.

But they have now ended, reports Reuters, quoting a spokesperson from Jaguar Land Rover.

2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

Jaguar Land Rover to sue Chinese copycat ‘Evoque’ manufacturer

JLR rejects driverless cars label

“Jaguar Land Rover has ended discussions with the British Racing Drivers’ Club for the foreseeable future and is not proceeding with any plans to either lease or purchase Silverstone at this time.”

JLR was said to have been planning to develop a heritage centre at Silverstone, to house some of its extensive classic car collection. Dynamic driving events would also have been an option, similar to those run by Porsche at its own Silverstone experience centre.

Insiders previously suggested it was this Porsche facility that was one of the sticking points in agreeing any deal. The German sports car maker’s contract apparently states no other manufacturer could use the circuit for more than 45 days a year.

The collapse in the JLR deal will be a blow for the BRDC. Silverstone is in need of further investment and the track’s losses are believed to be mounting.

JLR Driving Towards Autonomy

Jaguar Land Rover rejects driverless cars label

JLR Driving Towards AutonomyJaguar Land Rover is developing autonomous car technology – but is not planning to use the ‘driverless cars’ description because the firm is not “looking at simply replacing the driver”.

Instead, says group strategy director Adrian Hallmark, its autonomous technologies will “give the driver more, not less. Future technologies will assist and enhance the driver” and help keen drivers just as much as uninterested ones.

> More car news on Motoring Research

“There is a big difference between an autonomous car and a driverless car,” said Hallmark. “We are doing both but we have no plans to replace the driver. We prefer to call it driver-focused autonomous technology rather than driverless technology.”

Because the autonomous tech will be constantly working in the background, the intelligent systems will be able to support the driver even when they’re in control, primed to help out in an emergency – a bit like stability control systems do today. An example of this is a connected car warning of a hazard around the next corner, making fast driving on twisting roads safer.

Autonomous off-roader

JLR will also take autonomous technology off-road, bolstering the 4×4 credentials of Land Rover. If drivers start to accept autonomous technologies, “they would not want this support to stop just because they have turned off the road,” says Hallmark.

If you use autonomous lane-keeping on a motorway, you should be able to use it for your entire journey, “even if this is via a rough track or gravel road.” JLR wants to make the self-driving car “viable in the widest range of real life on- and off-road driving environments and weather conditions”.

To assist in this, Jaguar Land Rover will begin real-world testing of autonomous technology on public UK roads to support its work at closed test tracks and off-road courses. This research and development work will again concentrate on the driver just as much as the technology.

“Our research and development will ensure drivers trust autonomous,” says Hallmark. The firm aims to develop autonomous cars that “are intuitive and mirror how the driver would react to a situation”.

JLR Over the Horizon warnings

Watch how JLR will use connected car tech

If cars can talk to one another, we’ll be safer and far less stressed, says Jaguar Land Rover

 

JLR autonomous roadwork assist

Jaguar Land Rover to start UK real-world autonomous car trials

JLR autonomous roadwork assistJaguar Land Rover will this year begin public road trials of ‘driverless’ autonomous vehicles as part of a four-year real-world test.

The news means JLR will beat premium rival Volvo in commencing a public-road UK driverless car trial – the Swedish brand confirmed earlier this year it’s beginning an autonomous car test in London from 2017.

> More car news on Motoring Research

The first JLR research cars will drive on a 41-mile autonomous car test route around Coventry and Solihull, with a fleet of more than 100 research vehicles eventually taking to public roads.

The test route will include both motorways and urban roads, initially involving trials of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications tech that’s going to help make autonomous cars viable.

Future test vehicles will become progressively more autonomous, even allowing driverless operation through challenging sequences such as roadworks.

JLR will also develop more comprehensive connected car tech that it says will allow streams of traffic to talk with one another, improving traffic flow and safety.

But the firm famous for its engaging-to-drive cars isn’t planning to let the machines take over entirely, stresses head of research Tony Harper. Drivers are “able to choose how much support and assistance they need”.

They may, he says, pick full autonomy in boring motorway runs or stressful traffic, but still take over to enjoy twisty backroads – even though “the new technology we are creating will still be working in the background to help keep them safe”.

JLR autonomous innovations

JLR Roadwork Assist

Jaguar Land Rover engineers have today revealed some key technology innovations they’re working on, that they say will not only help make autonomous cars safer, they’ll also be safer and more reassuring to live with.

  • Roadwork Assist: a 3D camera uses image processing software to decipher the road ahead. It can plot a route through fiddly sequences of cones, helping centralise the vehicle safely through narrow sections
  • Safe Pullaway: if the driver goes to accelerate but the car ahead hasn’t moved, brakes are auto-applied. Good for roundabouts where the car behind goes for a gap the one in front does not…
  • Over the Horizon Warning: uses radio communications to alert drivers about incidents over the brow of a hill; a stopped car beams a ‘Hazard Ahead’ warning to nearby vehicles
  • Emergency Vehicle Warning: reduces the stress of hearing sirens but not seeing the emergency vehicle by telling drivers which direction the vehicle is coming from and how far away it is

“Our connected car and automated technology could help improve traffic flow, cut congestion and reduce the potential for accidents,” said Harper.

“Proving the right information at the right time will enable better and safer decision-making, whether the car is driven by a human or is autonomous.”

Landwind X7

Jaguar Land Rover to sue Chinese 'copycat Evoque' maker

Landwind X7Jaguar Land Rover is suing Chinese car brand Jiangling Motor for copying the design of its ultra-successful Range Rover Evoque reports Reuters, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter.

The Jiangling Landwind X7 is considered one of the more blatant copycat car designs and JLR believes it has a case for copyright infringement and unfair competition.

Range Rover Evoque

The Chinese model has been on sale for a few years now, despite its striking resemblance to the Range Rover Evoque. Reuters even says Landwind X7 owners can buy kits off the internet for less than £15, supplying the Range Rover grille and bonnet badging plus Land Rover badges to fully ‘Evoque-ise’ the Jiangling.

Bosses previously believed they wouldn’t be able to take action, with JLR CEO Dr Ralf Speth telling the media “there are no laws to protect us.

“We’ll have to take it as it is. In Europe, we can be protected against this kind of copy-paste in the design language; you can’t be protected in China.”

Now, it seems the firm has discovered a way to take action – despite the assumption being that overseas makers generally have little chance of winning cases against local firms.

Other car companies who have had their own designs infringed by Chinese brands will be watching the JLR copyright case with interest…

Landwind X7

Jaguar Land Rover to sue Chinese ‘copycat Evoque’ maker

Landwind X7Jaguar Land Rover is suing Chinese car brand Jiangling Motor for copying the design of its ultra-successful Range Rover Evoque reports Reuters, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter.

The Jiangling Landwind X7 is considered one of the more blatant copycat car designs and JLR believes it has a case for copyright infringement and unfair competition.

Range Rover Evoque

The Chinese model has been on sale for a few years now, despite its striking resemblance to the Range Rover Evoque. Reuters even says Landwind X7 owners can buy kits off the internet for less than £15, supplying the Range Rover grille and bonnet badging plus Land Rover badges to fully ‘Evoque-ise’ the Jiangling.

Bosses previously believed they wouldn’t be able to take action, with JLR CEO Dr Ralf Speth telling the media “there are no laws to protect us.

“We’ll have to take it as it is. In Europe, we can be protected against this kind of copy-paste in the design language; you can’t be protected in China.”

Now, it seems the firm has discovered a way to take action – despite the assumption being that overseas makers generally have little chance of winning cases against local firms.

Other car companies who have had their own designs infringed by Chinese brands will be watching the JLR copyright case with interest…

JLR workers urge bosses to act in a 'responsible manner' over Tata Steel sale

JLR workers urge bosses to act in a 'responsible manner' over Tata Steel sale

JLR workers urge bosses to act in a 'responsible manner' over Tata Steel sale

Members of the Unite Union at Jaguar Land Rover have written to Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry, urging him not to act to act irresponsibly over a ‘fire sale’ of the loss-making UK steel arm of the company.

Steel workers based in South Wales are facing uncertainty over jobs as Indian owners Tata has announced it’s looking to back out of its UK operations – which currently lose £1 million a day as steel prices continue to fall.

However, Unite has warned that a sudden sale would be irresponsible and could have catastrophic consequences for the industry.

A letter, addressed from Unite’s chair of JLR, Bob Nason, and JLR Halewood convenor, Ken Smith, read: “We are alarmed to read comments in the press that the company is looking to dispose of its UK steel operations within a short period of time.

“This is not something that a responsible employer would seek to do, given any sale and the necessary arrangements and due diligence will take some considerable time.

“Therefore we would ask you to confirm that Tata will act in a responsible manner in the UK, will allow sufficient time and resources to secure the business through a new buyer, that the whole of the Tata business in the UK is sold ‘as a whole’ and that you make it clear this is the course of action you will follow.”

The union is urging the government to step in and stabilise the UK steel industry by giving it a financial lifeline. It also wants ministers to ‘create an even playing field’ by dropping opposition to European Commission proposals to slap higher tariffs on cheap Chinese steel – as well as by taking action on ‘sky high’ energy costs faced in Britain.

Unite represents nearly 500,000 people working in manufacturing industries in the UK. The organisation added: “As union reps representing members in Jaguar Land Rover, part of Tata, we are extremely concerned for our brothers and sisters working in the UK steel industry.”

JLR workers urge bosses to act in a 'responsible manner' over Tata Steel sale

JLR workers urge bosses to act in a ‘responsible manner’ over Tata Steel sale

JLR workers urge bosses to act in a 'responsible manner' over Tata Steel sale

Members of the Unite Union at Jaguar Land Rover have written to Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry, urging him not to act to act irresponsibly over a ‘fire sale’ of the loss-making UK steel arm of the company.

Steel workers based in South Wales are facing uncertainty over jobs as Indian owners Tata has announced it’s looking to back out of its UK operations – which currently lose £1 million a day as steel prices continue to fall.

However, Unite has warned that a sudden sale would be irresponsible and could have catastrophic consequences for the industry.

A letter, addressed from Unite’s chair of JLR, Bob Nason, and JLR Halewood convenor, Ken Smith, read: “We are alarmed to read comments in the press that the company is looking to dispose of its UK steel operations within a short period of time.

“This is not something that a responsible employer would seek to do, given any sale and the necessary arrangements and due diligence will take some considerable time.

“Therefore we would ask you to confirm that Tata will act in a responsible manner in the UK, will allow sufficient time and resources to secure the business through a new buyer, that the whole of the Tata business in the UK is sold ‘as a whole’ and that you make it clear this is the course of action you will follow.”

The union is urging the government to step in and stabilise the UK steel industry by giving it a financial lifeline. It also wants ministers to ‘create an even playing field’ by dropping opposition to European Commission proposals to slap higher tariffs on cheap Chinese steel – as well as by taking action on ‘sky high’ energy costs faced in Britain.

Unite represents nearly 500,000 people working in manufacturing industries in the UK. The organisation added: “As union reps representing members in Jaguar Land Rover, part of Tata, we are extremely concerned for our brothers and sisters working in the UK steel industry.”