Jaguar Land Rover is investing as heavily as any of its competitors in autonomous technologies. But with its expertise in off-roading, the automaker division is taking its self-driving tech off the beaten path, too.
Called “Cortex,” the project aims to develop Level 4 and 5 automation off-road. That presents a particular challenge, because most autonomous driving systems rely on highly precise digital mapping of public roadways.
With an investment of £3.7 million (or about $4.9 million at current exchange rates), the Cortex project takes advantage of acoustic, video, radar, light detection and distance sensing (LiDAR) data to venture off-road with little or no driver intervention required.
“It’s important that we develop our self-driving vehicles with the same capability and performance customers expect from all Jaguars and Land Rovers,” said Chris Holmes, head of JLR’s connected and autonomous vehicle research program. “Self-driving is an inevitability for the automotive industry and ensuring that our autonomous offering is the most enjoyable, capable and safe is what drives us to explore the boundaries of innovation. CORTEX gives us the opportunity to work with some fantastic partners whose expertise will help us realise this vision in the near future.”
The automaker hasn’t outlined any timeframe for implementing the system, or what vehicles might get it in the future. But Land Rover makes some of the most capable off-road SUVs on the market. And with Jaguar expanding its own range of crossovers, we wouldn’t be all that surprised to see the F-Pace and its stablemates adopting the technology as well.