A Range Rover Sport has completed the first ever self-driving lap of one of the UK’s most challenging road layouts. A prototype self-driving Range Rover Sport handled the complex Coventry Ring Road, successfully changing lanes, merging with traffic and exiting junctions at the speed limit of 40 mph.
The trial is part of the £20-million (US$26-million) government-funded project, UK Autodrive, which ends this month after a three-year program. Jaguar Land Rover engineers have completed significant self-driving technology testing on closed tracks before heading onto public roads in Milton Keynes and Coventry.
The Range Rover Sport chosen for its performance and existing features, such as Adaptive Cruise Control, has been modified to include additional navigation sensors, RADAR and LIDAR. Coupled with the UK Autodrive research, the vehicle can now autonomously handle roundabouts, traffic lights, pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles on complicated roads. It can also park itself.
The Coventry Ring Road is known for its complicated slip roads and exits. It makes for very challenging conditions, especially when under pressure in the rush hour. Our self-driving car is not impacted by the same pressure, frustrations or fatigue that a driver may experience and so it’s capable of turning a potentially very stressful situation into a completely stress-free one.—Mark Cund, Jaguar Land Rover Autonomous Vehicle Research Manager
Jaguar Land Rover engineers also developed connected features as part of UK Autodrive. The safety-enhancing and emission reducing technology use the internet to connect vehicles to each other and to infrastructure such as traffic lights.