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Jaguar Land Rover taking self-driving cars off road

Partly funded by UK government, project CORTEX to develop new technology

Published: May 31, 2018, 2:30 AM
Updated: June 3, 2018, 1:50 AM

Range Rover Sport

For those dreading the day autonomous vehicles hit the road, Jaguar Land Rover has a solution — the company wants to take self-driving cars off the road! Oh sorry, misread that. The company is looking to take autonomous vehicles off-road, in its newly-announced project CORTEX.

Range Rover Sport SVR

The £3.7m project (about $6.34m Canadian) will develop autonomous vehicles capable of all-terrain, off-road driving in any dirt, rain, ice, snow and fog, In the process, JLA will also develop a new “5D” technique, adding sound to the real-time sensing capabilities already present in autonomous vehicle development (video, radar, light detection and distance measurement).

The company says the new capability improves the awareness in which the vehicle finds itself, while machine learning (AI) enables the self-driving vehicle to behave in more sophisticated way, which is what allows it to handle any weather condition on any terrain.

Land Rover Discovery

CORTEX will develop the technology through algorithm development, sensor optimisation and physical testing on off-road tracks. The University of Birmingham is also on board for the project, as is machine learning experts Myrtle AI. The project is being funded through the UK government’s Connected and Autonomous Vehicle initiative.

“Self-driving is an inevitability for the automotive industry and ensuring that our autonomous offering is the most enjoyable, capable and safe is what drives us to explore the boundaries of innovation,” said Chris Holmes, Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover. “CORTEX gives us the opportunity to work with some fantastic partners whose expertise will help us realise this vision in the near future.”

Land Rover Discovery

Jaguar Land Rover is already developing semi-autonomous vehicle technologies, offering its customers a level of autonomy they’re comfortable with, while maintaining the expected enjoyable and safe-driving experience that led them to choose JLA vehicles in the first place.

“It’s important that we develop our self-driving vehicles with the same capability and performance customers expect from all Jaguars and Land Rovers,” concluded Holmes.