An autonomous Range Rover Sport that can find its own parking space has been demonstrated on public roads in Milton Keynes as part of the UK Autodrive project.
The valet parking system developed by Jaguar Land Rover is a step towards making self-driving cars an everyday reality, with technology that removes stress from urban driving, the car maker said.
By enabling the car to find a suitable space and park without any driver input, the technology has the potential to cut congestion in busy cities and towns. That’s because an estimated 30% of congested urban traffic consists of vehicles looking for parking spaces.
Jaguar Land Rover has also developed connected technology which allows cars to ‘talk’ to each other and the surrounding environment, giving drivers the right information when they need it and helping the car react more quickly.
So far, the company has tested two features in Milton Keynes: Emergency Vehicle Warning alerts drivers when an emergency vehicle is approaching and indicates which direction it is coming from, while Electronic Emergency Brake Light gives a warning when another connected car brakes heavily — potentially giving drivers several additional seconds to avoid a possible collision.
“We’re investing heavily in automated technologies to make our customers’ lives safer and more convenient,” commented Joerg Schlinkheider, chief engineer of automated driving at Jaguar Land Rover. “Reducing the everyday stresses of driving — like squeezing into a tight parking place — means that we can all focus on the more enjoyable aspects of our cars.”
And the British public is ready for autonomous vehicles, according to new research from the GATEway Project. The survey found broad support (78%) for the idea of driverless vehicles on urban streets, provided they are safe and resistant to cyber attack.