A range of innovative research technologies that allow a future autonomous car to drive itself over any surface or terrain has been demonstrated by Land Rover at the Annual Tech Showcase in Whitley, UK.
The multi-million pound autonomous all-terrain driving innovative research project aims to make the self-driving car viable in the widest range of real life, on and off-road driving environments and weather conditions, ensuring future highly automated and fully autonomous technologies are not limited to tarmac.
Tony Harper, Head of Research, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Our 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 make their way safely through any terrain or driving situation.”
To enable this level of autonomous all-terrain capability, Jaguar Land Rover’s researchers are developing next-generation sensing technologies that will be the eyes of the future autonomous car. Because the sensors are always active and can create a complete picture of the environment around the vehicle, this advanced sensing will ultimately provide the high levels of artificial intelligence required for the car to think for itself and plan the route it should take, on any surface.
Behind these technologies is surface identification and 3D path sensing research which combines camera, ultrasonic, radar and LIDAR sensors to give the car a 360-degree view of the world around it, with sensors so advanced that the car could determine surface characteristics, down to the width of a tyre, even in rain and falling snow, to plan its route. To complete the 3D path is overhead clearance assist, which uses stereo camera technology to scan ahead for overhead obstructions such as branches overhanging a track.
The sensors could also be used to identifying the roughness of the track and to adapt the vehicle’s speed accordingly with the Terrain Based Speed adaption technology. The cameras can be used sense bumpy terrain including uneven and undulating surfaces and washboard roads, potholes and even standing water. It is then intelligent enough to predict the potential impact of these surfaces on the car’s ride and automatically adjust speed to keep passengers comfortable.
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