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JLR Lookers West London

£12 million JLR flagship dealer opens next to the A40 in London

JLR Lookers West LondonA £12 million flagship new dealer for Jaguar Land Rover alongside the A40 in West London has been officially opened by explorers Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Monty Halls.

The new Lookers Jaguar Land Rover West London dealer is the first new-look Jaguar Land Rover dealer to open in the UK: over the next few years, all Jaguar and Land Rover dealers will look like this.

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JLR calls it the ARCH look, consisting of a sharp, clean, modern look. It’s part of the firm’s plan to combine Jaguar and Land Rover dealers into one outlet – and there’s £1 billion of investment going into 1,800 retailers across the globe deliver.

Jaguar Land Rover used the opening of the Lookers West London site to give the new Discovery its first UK showroom reveal, as a reward to the dealer group for its investment in the brand: the colossal multi-million-pound retailer site is certainly impressive.

It’s taken 18 months to transform the site, a few hundred yards down the road from the famous Hangar Lane Gyratory, and its opening means the new JLR look will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people every day.

Including JLR CEO Dr. Ralf Speth – his route into London from JLR HQ is via the A40…

In total, the new site can house 44 cars and includes a barista bar, business lounge, kid’s area, and comfy seats to lounge in. It produces its own power via a huge solar stack and the water used to fully detail every used car on the site is fully recycled.

Customers don’t even have to face the elements when they visit: a special drive-in service bay automatically opens garage doors as they drive up, so they can hand over their car to a technician in the warm and dry.

Andy Bruce, Lookers CEO, said: “Our new showroom is the result of a £12m investment into a brand that we really believe in. Our business is doing better than ever thanks in no small part to the incredible array of Jaguar Land Rover products on sale.

“With the new Lookers West London site we’ve created a real premium destination, and we are privileged to have not only hosted the New Discovery at our launch event, but also to hear some of Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ incredible adventures.”

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.”

Land Rover Connected Convoy

Jaguar Land Rover takes self-driving cars off-road

Land Rover Connected ConvoyJaguar Land Rover is working on advanced technology that will allow autonomous cars to offer self-driving functionality on all surfaces and terrains.

The firm’s Autonomous All Terrain Driving Project will allow self-driving cars to work “in the widest range of real life, on- and off-road driving environments” such as grass, gravel, sand and snow.

> More car news on Motoring Research

Current self-driving cars require quality surfaces and clear road markings to function correctly: JLR doesn’t want to limit future highly autonomous and fully autonomous tech to the tarmac. If you’re using self-driving tech on the motorway, reckons JLR, you should be able to use it all the way to your destination – even if it’s up a rough road or gravel track.

And even if you don’t want the car to take over fully autonomously, it should be intelligent enough to give you educated suggestions about the best way to tackle what’s ahead.

The project lends itself to the off-road focus of Land Rover, which has given a world-first demonstration of an ‘Off-Road Connected Convoy’: two vehicles hooked up via car-to-car technology, so the lead vehicle can send messages back to the second car, including which settings to use.

Ideal for safaris, reckons the firm, when only the lead driver is likely to be an experienced off-roader.

JLR head of research Tony Harper says the firm’s all-terrain autonomy research “isn’t just about the car driving itself on a motorway or in extreme off-road situations. It’s about helping both the driven and autonomous car maker their way safely through any terrain or driving situation.

“We are already world-leaders in all-terrain technologies: these research projects will extend that lead still further.”

Next-generation sensors

Connected_convoy_02

A new generation of autonomous sensors is required for JLR to achieve this, but the firm is working on them. They include ‘surface identification and 3D path sensing’, that links up camera, ultrasonic, radar and LIDAR sensors.

This gives the car a 360 degree view, one so accurate the car is able to plot a route to a tyre’s width, even over rain and snow. The car scans five metres ahead so can react to any surface changes, slowing the vehicle if necessary.

Such forward-scanning ‘terrain-based speed adaptation’ means the vehicle can also change speed if the road becomes rough and bumpy, making things comfier for passengers: it’s intelligent enough to know the potential ‘bumpiness’ of surfaces ahead so will always choose the correct speed.

The 360 degree view also ensures an autonomous Land Rover won’t whack into any overhanging branches or overhead barriers…

Jaguar Land Rover connected car safari

How Jaguar Land Rover will use car-to-car communications to make off-roading easier

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

Pothole Alert system could 'save motorists billions', says Jaguar Land Rover

Pothole_FINALDamage caused by potholes is estimated to cost UK drivers £2.8bn every year. But clever new ‘Pothole Alert’ technology from Jaguar Land Rover could help prevent punctures, wheel damage and even road accidents.

Currently fitted to Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport test cars, the system uses sensors to profile the road surface. It then adjusts the stiffness of the car’s MagneRide dampers to take account of potholes, raised manholes and other imperfections, giving passengers a more comfortable ride.

The data gathered by Pothole Alert can then be shared with other road users via the cloud to build up an ever-changing map of road conditions. And JLR is also working with Coventry City Council, sharing the data with its road authorities and potentially speeding up the process of repairs.

At the moment, the system is essentially ‘reactive’ to road conditions. But the next stage is to make it ‘active’ by using a forward-facing digital camera. Global Connected Car Director at JLR, Dr Mike Bell, explains: “At the moment the most accurate data comes from when the car has driven over the pothole or manhole. So we are also researching how we could improve the measurement and accuracy of pothole detection by scanning the road ahead, so the car could predict how severe they are before the vehicle gets near them.

“Ultimately, sensing the road ahead and assessing hazards is a key building block on our journey to the autonomous car. In the future, we are looking to develop systems that could automatically guide a car around potholes without the car leaving its lane and causing a danger to other drivers. If the pothole hazard was significant enough, safety systems could slow or even stop the car to minimize the impact. This could all help make future autonomous driving a safe and enjoyable reality.”

Councillor Rachel Lancaster of Coventry City Council added:  “As part of our ‘Smart Cities’ strategy, we will be investigating how Jaguar Land Rover’s Pothole Alert system could supply us with data in real-time from thousands of connected cars right across our road network. Having this kind of extra information might allow us to further improve our maintenance programmes, which would save the taxpayer money.”

 

Pothole Alert system could ‘save motorists billions’, says Jaguar Land Rover

Pothole_FINALDamage caused by potholes is estimated to cost UK drivers £2.8bn every year. But clever new ‘Pothole Alert’ technology from Jaguar Land Rover could help prevent punctures, wheel damage and even road accidents.

Currently fitted to Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport test cars, the system uses sensors to profile the road surface. It then adjusts the stiffness of the car’s MagneRide dampers to take account of potholes, raised manholes and other imperfections, giving passengers a more comfortable ride.

The data gathered by Pothole Alert can then be shared with other road users via the cloud to build up an ever-changing map of road conditions. And JLR is also working with Coventry City Council, sharing the data with its road authorities and potentially speeding up the process of repairs.

At the moment, the system is essentially ‘reactive’ to road conditions. But the next stage is to make it ‘active’ by using a forward-facing digital camera. Global Connected Car Director at JLR, Dr Mike Bell, explains: “At the moment the most accurate data comes from when the car has driven over the pothole or manhole. So we are also researching how we could improve the measurement and accuracy of pothole detection by scanning the road ahead, so the car could predict how severe they are before the vehicle gets near them.

“Ultimately, sensing the road ahead and assessing hazards is a key building block on our journey to the autonomous car. In the future, we are looking to develop systems that could automatically guide a car around potholes without the car leaving its lane and causing a danger to other drivers. If the pothole hazard was significant enough, safety systems could slow or even stop the car to minimize the impact. This could all help make future autonomous driving a safe and enjoyable reality.”

Councillor Rachel Lancaster of Coventry City Council added:  “As part of our ‘Smart Cities’ strategy, we will be investigating how Jaguar Land Rover’s Pothole Alert system could supply us with data in real-time from thousands of connected cars right across our road network. Having this kind of extra information might allow us to further improve our maintenance programmes, which would save the taxpayer money.”

 

Jaguar to build Project 7 concept – and it's coming to Goodwood FoS 2014

JAGUAR PROJECT 7Jaguar has confirmed it is building the Project 7 concept car that wowed the crowds at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed – and it will showcase the production version at this year’s FoS. Read more