Autonomous driving technology is primarily focused on keeping the driver, passengers, and others out on the road safe. But the ability for a car to operate without a human behind the wheel is something else altogether.
Jaguar Land Rover is currently testing a new smartphone app that will allow the driver to tackle the tough terrain all by remote control! The app includes control of a Range Rover’s steering, accelerator and brakes as well as changing from high and low range. This would allow the driver to walk alongside the car, at a maximum speed of 4mph, to maneuver the car out of challenging situations safely. The idea is to help off-road drivers carefully and precisely navigate steep embankments or other challenging routes, as well as help urban drivers exit tight parking spaces. The “Multi-Point Turn” Range Rover Sport performs autonomous 180-degree turns, while the driver sits back and watches.
JLR is still testing the system and looking at installing it as a feature starting in about 2020, said Nick O’Donnell, a spokesman.
The remote-control app is controlled via Bluetooth, only usable when the driver is within 30 feet of the car, and the maximum speed will be 4 miles per hour. There are reported plans to move the system over to Wi-Fi for greater range, and a tablet version, which would take advantage of the Range Rover Sport’s surround camera system to provide a live video feed from the bumpers and wheels, is also said to be in the works.
Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Research into technologies like these won’t only help us deliver an autonomous car. They will help make real driving safer and more enjoyable. The same sensors and systems that will help an autonomous car make the right decisions, will assist the driver and enhance the experience to help prevent accidents. Autonomous car technologies will not take away the fun of driving.”