JLR invests in living laboratory

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) are investing in a 41 mile ‘living laboratory’ project on UK roads to develop new Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) technologies.

41 miles of roads around Coventry and Solihull will be used as a CAV test corridor to evaluate new systems in real-world driving conditions. It is part of a series of JLR projects to test and develop next-generation connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.

A fleet of 100 ‘smart’ connected and autonomous technology research vehicles, including Jaguar and Land Rover models, will test new car-to-car communication and ‘Over the Horizon’ warnings systems, which are planned to make driving safer, improve journey times and prevent traffic jams.

The £5.5m ‘UK-CITE’ (UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment) project will create the first test route capable of testing vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure systems on UK public roads. New roadside communications equipment will be installed during the three year project to enable the testing of up to 100 connected and highly automated cars, including five JLR research vehicles.

This fleet will test a range of different technologies that could share information from cars at very high speeds with other vehicles and roadside infrastructure, including traffic lights and overhead gantries.

The project also has the British Government’s support with a £3.41 million grant from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. This funding for collaborative research is part of the Government’s £100m Connected and Autonomous Vehicles fund.

Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said, ‘This real-life laboratory will allow Jaguar Land Rover’s research team and project partners to test new connected and autonomous vehicle technologies on five different types of roads and junctions. Similar research corridors already exist in other parts of Europe so this test route is exactly the sort of innovation infrastructure the UK needs to compete globally.’

The Jaguar Land Rover research team will be real-world testing a range of ‘Over the Horizon’ warning systems. The systems would warn drivers and inform future autonomous vehicles, helping them react and respond to hazards and changing traffic conditions automatically. 

Dr Epple added, ‘A well-informed driver is a safer driver, while an autonomous vehicle will need to receive information about the driving environment ahead. The benefits of smarter vehicles communicating with each other and their surroundings include a car sending a warning that it is braking heavily or stopping in a queue of traffic or around a bend. This will enable an autonomous car to take direct action and respond.’

Jaguar Land Rover is also developing an ‘Emergency Vehicle Warning’ system, that would identify an approaching and connected ambulance, fire engine or police car. The driver would then receive a warning, long before flashing lights and sirens are audible or visible.