A Jaguar, first and foremost, is a driver’s car. So how does a carmaker - whose USP is to excite the senses through acceleration, cornering and fine-tuned exhaust notes - approach autonomous vehicles and will it ever build one?
Well, if recent announcements from Jaguar parent company Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) are anything to go by, it looks like the UK’s biggest car manufacturer is already ahead of the curve.
In October 2016, JLR unveiled plans that it’s working alongside fellow carmakers Ford and Tata to develop and test connected technologies that will allow cars to talk to each other.
At an event staged at the Horiba Mira test circuit (a former RAF base in the Midlands and occasional Top Gear filming location), the three car brands demonstrated a selection of the new connected technologies, including the following…
Advanced Highway Assist: technology that allows a vehicle to automatically overtake as well as stay in its lane on a motorway, without the driver having to touch the steering wheel or pedals.
Electronic Emergency Brake Light Assist: a warning system that alerts drivers when a vehicle ahead brakes severely or unexpectedly – even in dense fog or when the car ahead is out of view.
Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory: a network that connects the vehicle to traffic lights and advises the driver of the optimum driving speed required to reach the lights when they are on green. Therefore, improving traffic flow, CO₂ emissions and the driver’s experience.
Speaking last month at the launch in Los Angeles of the new all-electric Jaguar I-PACE, Nick Rogers JLR’s Group Engineering Director said "It is my belief that over the next five years we will see more changes in the automotive world than in the last three decades."
JLR has made no secret that it’s already developing both fully and semi-autonomous vehicle technologies. Although, they are keen to stress that they’re looking to use such technology to enhance the driver experience and make driving smarter, safer and cleaner.
To fully realise this plan, the firm is building 100 research vehicles over the next four years that it expects to be testing on public roads by the end of 2018.
Be sure to watch this space for further exciting developments.