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Land Rover Previews SAE-L4 Autonomous Vehicle

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【Summary】For a prototype, the unit is very refined. Inside the vehicle, commands are fed through a thin panel above the center infotainment system. This is a huge upgrade from most self-driving cars currently in development, with clunky wires, a laptop in the passenger seat and an exposed dashboard crammed with sensors.

Michael Cheng    Jun 27, 2017 5:27 AM PT
Land Rover Previews SAE-L4 Autonomous Vehicle

Without a refined prototype, it's difficult to tell which automaker is really ahead in developing and commercializing driverless technology. So far, most businesses have only gone as far as making claims, forming collaborations with other companies and releasing video clips online of ongoing trials.

As we get closer to the deadline for autonomous cars to proliferate (most are aiming to release self-driving units in the next three to five years), some automakers have started to reveal the results of their hard work.

One of these companies is Land Rover. The car manufacturer, which is a division of Jaguar Land Rover under the parent company Tata Motors, released a fully working, SAE-L4 autonomous vehicle on a test track earlier this month.

Car of the Future

The Range Rover Sport is designed for both off-road and on-road use. At SAE-L4, the car can do some pretty amazing stuff. It is capable of reading and obeying traffic lights, performing difficult driving maneuvers and parking itself in a crowded lot. Human intervention is still required, as the vehicle will likely get stuck in situations it has never encountered before. During such incidents, the system will push control back to the driver; or if the driver is unable to regain control, it will slow down and stop safely on the side of the road.

Perhaps the most impressive feature is its ability to reach a preprogrammed destination on the map. Future owners of the Range Rover Sport would simply need to choose a destination and the car will drive itself there without hesitation.

For a prototype, the unit is very refined. Inside the vehicle, commands are fed through a thin panel above the center infotainment system. This is a huge upgrade from most self-driving cars currently in development, with clunky wires, a laptop in the passenger seat and an exposed dashboard crammed with sensors.

Release Date and Rumors

The Range Rover Sport still has some major milestones to hit before its official release, which is expected within the next decade. So far, developers are busy accruing mileage at a 44-mile closed track in the HORIBA MIRA test site (United Kingdom). Interestingly, we might see this car in action on public roads very soon, as trials around the cities of Milton Keynes and Coventry are planned for the end of this year.

"JLR is working with lots of other partners in the UK to develop both semi and fully autonomous vehicles as part of the £20 million UK Autodrive research and development project. This hefty wedge of cash is being spent as our little old island wants to be the forefront of connected and autonomous innovation, taking on the likes of the US, America, Japan and Sweden," said Rowan Horncastle from Top Gear.

To streamline its self-driving goals, the automaker is also racking up miles via a fleet of autonomous cars that is part of a $25 million deal with ridesharing giant Lyft. Both companies failed to reveal exactly how many cars will be participating in the autonomous driving project.

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