Jaguar Land Rover to take driverless cars to UK roads
Jaguar Land Rover has said it will create a fleet of more than 100 research vehicles over the next four years to test autonomous and connected technology, with the first hitting the streets later this year.
Britain’s biggest carmaker plans to test the vehicles on a 41-mile (66km) route on motorways and urban roads near its headquarters in Whitley, Coventry.
The autonomous vehicles market is worth £900bn worldwide, according to the government, but legal obstacles, including determining who would be responsible in the event of an accident, are yet to be overcome.
Britain announced plans in March to test cars on motorways and launched a consultation on Monday to change insurance and motoring rules as the government looks to allow members of the public to use driverless cars on the streets by 2020.
Jaguar Land Rover’s head of research, Tony Harper, said the company’s technology, which includes a 3D view of the street ahead to recognise barriers, and radio signal communication between cars, could improve safety.
“Our connected and automated technology could help improve traffic flow, cut congestion and reduce the potential for accidents,” Harper said.
Carmakers are spending billions of pounds on autonomous technology, with Ford already part of a government-sanctioned testing project in England, and Volvoplanning to test driverless cars in London next year.
Nissan aims to build its first mass-market autonomous vehicle at its plant in Sunderland. However, traditional producers face competition from rivals such as Tesla and Google, which want to deploy fully autonomous vehicles without human controls further down the line.
In the UK, driverless car testing will require a person to be present and able to take control should the need arise, the Department for Transport has said.