In the near future, you might not have to be an expert to tackle the trail. Instead, your vehicle may be able to handle the off-roading for you, thanks to Land Rover.
The British automaker is developing autonomous off-roading technology. Special sensors and software designed specifically to handle rugged terrain, mud, dirt and of course high water.
Land Rover calls it the autonomous All-Terrain Driving Research Project.
“We don’t want to limit future highly automated and fully autonomous technologies to tarmac. When the driver turns off the road, we want this support and assistance to continue,” says Tony Harper, Head of Research for Jaguar Land Rover.
The first part of the project involves surface identification and path sensing. Vehicles need to be able to have an accurate picture of what’s going on around and ahead of them in order for all of this to work.
The research combines camera, ultrasonic, radar and LIDAR sensors to give the car a 360-degree view of its surroundings. Ultrasonic sensors scan ahead of the car to identify different road surfaces, so the car can then automatically switch to the right driving mode before it hits a new surface.
Land Rover is keeping an eye out above as well. Stereo cameras look for things like low-hanging branches or other objects that could smack the roof. Meanwhile, Land Rover’s Terrain-Based Speed Adaption system looks on the ground for potholes, standing water and rough surfaces. The car then adjusts its speed to handle whatever comes its way.
Finally, we can’t leave out other big part of this. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Land Rover is testing V2V communication that would allow cars to share all their data about driving conditions.
Land Rover calls the picture above an Off-Road Connected Convoy. The wireless V2V communications system shares info including vehicle location, wheel-slip, changes to suspension height and wheel articulation, as well as All-Terrain Progress Control and Terrain Response settings instantly between the two vehicles.
Check out these Land Rover video demos below.