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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.

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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.”

Jaguar Land Rover

Are Brits proud enough of Jaguar Land Rover?

Juergen StackmannDuring an enlightening round table with Volkswagen brand CEO Juergen Stackmann at the Geneva Motor Show, he made an interesting observation: the turnaround of Jaguar Land Rover over recent years has been remarkable, with the firm becoming a genuine premium market player with world-class products in just a single model cycle – an outstanding performance.

“You must be very proud, no?”

It struck me: are we? Do we really appreciate just what the home brand has achieved following the unshackling from Ford into a standalone group, which happened just as the 2008 recession struck?

Maybe with Land Rover, the profitable side of the group, we do – although few could have expected the smash-hit Range Rover Evoque, the margin-rich continuation of the Range Rover Sport and the sheer brilliance of the latest Range Rover. But then, Land Rover’s always done well: in a world now besotted by SUVs, it would almost be a surprise if it wasn’t thriving.

Jaguar, though – there’s the real story. Back in 2008, it was making the elderly XJ, the low volume XK and had just launched the breakout XF – a car that, for all its wonderful style and beautiful interior (arguably more beautiful than today’s cabins), was still derived from Ford-sourced S-Type underpinnings.

The XF was Jaguar’s only volume car and even this was hardly high volume. Lacking a serious sales alternative to the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, it really was a minnow in the premium sector. The Germans simply didn’t consider it a serious rival.

Jaguar Land Rover

Now look at it: there’s a brand-new XE made from an all-Jaguar, aluminium-intensive platform, winning plaudits and leaping straight into the position of driver’s car alternative to the 3 Series. There’s an all-new XF, again heavily using aluminium, that on paper makes as much rational, tax-friendly sense to business users as the smaller XE does.

The svelte XJ has been tweaked and the F-Type continues to get ever-faster and more lairy, neither car not really registering on saes charts but providing useful image-boost assets for the firm.

And soon, there’ll be the F-Pace. Jaguar’s first SUV. A great-looking machine that’s chasing the Porsche Macan and, by all accounts, is just as good to drive. Unlike the so-so XE and XF interiors, its cabin is also bang on the money, while both pricing and CO2 are double-take competitive.

The F-Pace, along with the XE, are going to transform Jaguar. Its sales are, relative to previous years, going to skyrocket and it may finally be able to stand on its own two feet rather than being propped up by the financial might of Land Rover.

And if Jaguar’s able to do this in a generation, what else could it do once the momentum really starts to flow?

Stackmann is right to ask us if we’re proud of Jaguar Land Rover. Perhaps we should ask ourselves that. Put the usual British cynicism to one side for a moment: even in the boardrooms of giant German car brands, JLR’s achievements are being recognised. Maybe it’s time we started shouting about them too.

Jaguar XE Solihull

Jaguar Land Rover in deal to build cars in Austria

Jaguar XE SolihullJaguar Land Rover has signed a deal with Magna International for the firm to build cars for JLR at its Magna Steyr plant in Graz, Austria.

The deal, for an unspecified number of future models yet to be announced, will ease pressure on JLR’s three at-capacity UK plants.

Jaguar XE review – 2015 first drive

The firm stressed UK factories were not at risk and this deal was to help expand the firm rather than move production away from Britain.

“The UK remains at the centre of our design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities,” said JLR CEO Dr. Ralf Speth.

“Partnerships such as this will complement our UK operations and engineering.”

Jaguar Land Rover opened its first modern overseas plant in 2014, in China. Construction is now underway on an all-new plant in Brazil. The firm also assembles cars in India, using parts shipped over from the UK.

Last year, JLR built more than 460,000 cars – most of them produced here in the UK. Its plant in Merseyside has for several years now been running around the clock and its factory in Solihull has also for some time been runnign 24/7.

What could Magna Steyr build for JLR?

Speculation now mounts as to what Magna Steyr could assemble for Jaguar Land Rover in Austria.

The firm is already a contract manufacturer for several premium brands; cars that are built or have been built there include the BMW X3, Aston Martin Rapide, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Peugeot RCZ, MINI Countryman and Paceman, Chrysler 300C and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

JLR’s new aluminium-intensive platform strategy is likely to keep high-tech Jaguars and Land Rovers in the UK, where facilities already exist. The new Jaguar XE, for example, is built at Land Rover’s Solihull plant, where aluminium facilities already exist.

The Jaguar plant at Castle Bromwich is also all-aluminium and has capacity for more models: the Jaguar F-Pace is likely to be built here.

But this leaves no room for future models – and, if they’re based on a cheaper and more conventional architecture, could be assembled elsewhere. The Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque platform, currently made in Solihull, could easily be produced elsewhere, for example – its Ford roots mean such flexibility is already built in.

Some are thus speculating that Magna Steyr may assemble a future ‘baby F-Pace’ for the Jaguar brand – or, if it were designed using a highly flexible components-based platform, possibly even the new Land Rover Defender…

What new Jaguar or Land Rover do you think could be built in Austria? Share your thoughts with us below

Nick Rogers - JLR engineering director

New British engineering boss for Jaguar Land Rover

Nick Rogers - JLR engineering directorJaguar Land Rover has appointed Nick Rogers as its new engineering director, effective from April 2015. He succeeds Dr Wolfgang Ziebart.  Read more

Range Rover Sport SVR 2015

Jaguar Land Rover supports more jobs than Derby

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Jaguar Castle Bromwich

JLR commits to UK with £600 million Midlands investment

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