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Jaguar Land Rover takes Artificial Intelligence off-road

A lot of discussion has taken place regarding Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it can be employed for self-driving cars. Most manufacturers have developed successful platforms for use on the road. The fact that a significant number of inputs introduced in a complicated algorithm can in fact deliver an impressive result is fascinating, but the new system developed by Jaguar Land Rover for self-driving off-road capability is absolutely mind-blowing.

The world-first ‘CORTEX’ project will take self-driving cars off-road, ensuring they are fully capable in any weather condition: dirt, rain, ice, snow or fog. As part of the project, a ‘5D’ technique combining acoustic, video, radar, light detection and distance sensing (LiDAR) data live in real-time is being engineered. Access to this combined data improves the awareness of the environment the car is in. Machine-learning enables the self-driving car to behave in an increasingly sophisticated way, allowing it to handle any weather condition on any terrain.

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It’s important that we develop our self-driving vehicles with the same capability and performance customers expect from all Jaguars and Land Rovers. Self-driving is an inevitability for the automotive industry and ensuring that our autonomous offering is the most enjoyable, capable and safe is what drives us to explore the boundaries of innovation. CORTEX gives us the opportunity to work with some fantastic partners whose expertise will help us realise this vision in the near future.

CHRIS HOLMES
CONNECTED AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE RESEARCH MANAGER, JAGUAR

Jaguar Land Rover is developing fully- and semi-automated vehicle technologies, offering customers a choice of the level of automation, while maintaining an enjoyable and safe driving experience. This project forms part of the company’s vision to make the self-driving car viable in the widest range of real-life, on- and off-road driving environments and weather.

CORTEX is a 30 month collaborative project launched in March 2018 to support the development and delivery of self-driving vehicles in the UK. CORTEX brings together leading technology and automotive expertise as well as academia to deliver highly capable self-driving vehicles. CORTEX is jointly funded by government and industry. The competition was delivered by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

Although many drivers are still concerned with regards to the suitability and adaptability of AI to various driving conditions, the different levels of autonomy safeguard both the driver access and intervention, as well as pleasure, where this is desirable.

Level 0 – No Automation: There is no automation, the driver is in sole control of the vehicle.

Level 1 – Driver Assistance: The driver has assistance for one function eg cruise control.

Level 2 – Partial Automation: The driver has assistance for two functions eg speed and steering such as Traffic Jam Assist.

Level 3 – Conditional Automation: The car undertakes normal driving functions autonomously in a specific environment but the driver may be required to retake control if the environment is too challenging.

Level 4 – High Automation: The car can operate independently in specific environments such as urban environments or motorways, without any driver intervention.

Level 5 – Full Automation: No human control of the vehicle is needed. The vehicle can complete a journey without any human intervention.

CORTEX will develop the technology through algorithm development, sensor optimisation and physical testing on off-road tracks in the UK. The University of Birmingham, with its world leading research in radar and sensing for autonomous platforms and Myrtle AI, machine learning experts, join the project. CORTEX was announced as part of Innovate UK’s third round of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Funding in March 2018.

With the activities related to off-road driving, such as mountain-biking, kayaking and hunting, to name a few, one can only visualize the options that a self-driving off-road vehicle can deliver to its owner in the future. CORTEX is a first step to redefining freedom of movement, something intrinsic for the JLR brand.

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