Autonomous driving is steadily creeping into production cars, with various cars offering self-parking tech, wherein you could either ask the vehicle to park itself and control the throttle and brakes, or let it park all by itself. Jaguar Land Rover has gone a level ahead by showcasing a smartphone-controlled Range Rover Sport, which in true LR fashion, lets you tackle difficult terrain without having to be inside the vehicle. More on that below!
First, what’s with controlling a car with a smartphone? Carmakers are letting users operate a few of their cars’ features using smartwatches (Moto 360, Apple Watch, etc.), so what’s new with JLR? Well, to start with, JLR’s Multi Point Turn system gives the vehicle an ability to make autonomous 180-degree turns, without the driver’s intervention. On demand, the vehicle can also get out of tight parking spots, too. All that just by a small input on a smartphone!
But the centre of attraction here is the ability to control a vehicle as big and powerful as the Range Rover Sport through a smartphone app. It’s rather simple, too – all you need to do is step out of the vehicle, and use the app to control the accelerator, brake, and steering. You can walk alongside the vehicle as it obeys your app inputs and even climb inclines/tackle difficult terrain. It can achieve speeds up to 4mph, and will stay connected as long as the driver, okay smartphone operator, is within the range of 10 metres. Beyond that, the vehicle will come to a halt. It will also brake if the driver comes too close when the vehicle’s moving. The company also mentions that, in future, even negotiating obstacles could be autonomous.
This tech. showcase is just a way of JLR showing that the future holds great things indeed, and while there will always be takers for fully autonomous vehicles, this is what makes driving more fun, by essentially taking the unnecessary part away from the experience. Who likes to be subjected to the everyday hassles of parking anyway? Unless you’re Russ Swift, of course.
The company’s research team is also working on Mind Sense – which will calculate driver concentration by using his/her brainwaves; Wellness Seat – which will keep a check on driver’s health by analysing his heart rate and breathing; and the ability of the vehicle to check for road signs, and possible hazards – the driver could be notified for the latter by things like haptic pedals; and reduce the amount of distractions by offering a way to control the infotainment system without having to look at the screen but by mid-air touch – which unlike gesture based systems, will provide touch sensation (haptic feedback) mid air.
And that’s not all. Remember the pothole detection tech; Bike Sense – which told the driver about cyclist and pedestrian-related hazards by touch, sound, and sense; Transparent Pillar; and the Transparent Bonnet?
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