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Right after announcing its development of autonomous off-road technology, it has also emerged that Jaguar Land Rover will start testing self-driving technology, and will grow its test fleet to 100 units over the next four years. In the early stages, testing will involve vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications technologies that will allow cars to ‘talk’ to each other and roadside signs, overhead gantries and traffic lights.

First of the lot is Roadwork Assist, which uses a forward-facing stereo camera to generate a 3D view of the path ahead. The images it sees are processed for the car to recognise cones and barriers commonly used in road construction, and JLR says the system will recognise when the car approaches a construction zone. It will then plot the ideal path through the area, and even help steer to keep the vehicle centered in its lane.

The next system being developed is Safe Pullaway, which similarly detects and identifies hazards ahead, this time immediately in front of the vehicle. If an obstruction such as a wall or another stationary vehicle is detected to be ahead, the brakes are automatically applied and the driver is warned not to try and accelerate.

Just as it is working on identifying obstructions nearby with Safe Pullaway, hazards further away are tackled with another system called Over The Horizon Warning. This uses radio signals to transmit and receive vehicle-to-vehicle data, which helps following vehicles identify hazards that are beyond its range of sight.

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If a vehicle has slowed or stopped, and poses a risk to other motorists, it would send a ‘Hazard Ahead’ warning to nearby vehicles which would be alerted by audio and visual warnings. A related, Emergency Vehicle Warning system helps vehicles be more aware of connected ambulances, police vehicles or fire engines, and allow more reaction time in order to clear a path for the emergency services.

“Our connected and automated technology could help improve traffic flow, cut congestion and reduce the potential for accidents. We will also improve the driving experience, with drivers able to choose how much support and assistance they need. In traffic, for example, the driver could choose autonomy assist during tedious or stressful parts of the journey,” said Tony Harper, Jaguar Land Rover’s head of research.