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Land Rover is preparing self-driving SUVs for off-road

Thought it was hard enough to sort on-road autonomy? JLR’s going full 4x4

One day, Land Rover wants to sell you an SUV that’ll be able to drive itself off-road. That’s right, not only are we marching towards autonomy for city and motorway slogs, but also up mountains and across rivers and even – dare we say it – kerbs.

It’s part of something called project ‘CORTEX’ – a collaboration funded between government and industry – that kicked off a few months back to further the development of self-driving cars in the UK.

As such, part of this project involves engineering a combination of acoustic data, video data, radar, light detection and distance sensing all in real-time. It basically gives the car the fullest picture of its surroundings that’ll help say, when you’re halfway up a mountain.

“Self-driving is an inevitability for the automotive industry,” explains JLR’s connected and autonomous vehicle research manager Chris Holmes. “CORTEX gives us the opportunity to work with some fantastic partners whose expertise will help us realise this vision in the near future.”

Jaguar Land Rover’s take on self-driving will cover the spectrum of automation from semi-autonomous to full, with a mind to make a self-driving car “viable in the widest range of real-life, on- and off-road driving environments and weather”.

Of course, JLR’s been on this for a while now. Back in December 2016, TG drove a then prototype new Disco fitted with All-Terrain Progress Control, which was effectively off-road cruise control. A precursor to what we’re beginning to see now.

Won’t be long before you simply shout ‘TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN PLEASE’ at your voice activated sat nav, and relax with a cup of tea as the car handles everything…

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