Jaguar Land Rover has unveiled a vehicle that can be remote controlled using a smartphone.
The smartphone app includes control of steering, accelerator and brakes as well as changing from high and low range, allowing a driver to slowly walk alongside the car and manoeuvre it into parking spaces or past difficult off-road terrain.
The remote control function to the adapted Range Rover Sport only operates if the user is within 10 metres of the car and the smart key can be detected.
Jaguar hopes to advance the technology to the point where a driver can give a command from the handset to traverse an obstacle or exit a parking space and the car does the rest.
Dr Wolfgang Epple, director of research and technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: ‘Getting a car out of a tricky parking manoeuvre can be a stressful experience for any driver. A Remote Control car, or a vehicle that can autonomously turn in the road, demonstrates how we could use these new technologies to reduce the tedious parts of driving and improve road safety.
‘Research into technologies like these won't only help us deliver an autonomous car. They will help make real driving safer and more enjoyable. The same sensors and systems that will help an autonomous car make the right decisions, will assist the driver and enhance the experience to help prevent accidents. Autonomous car technologies will not take away the fun of driving.’
As part of ongoing into work into automated vehicles, researchers at the motoring giant said they are developing sensing technologies that would work ‘in all weathers and in all environments’.
This work requires a fusion of sensors with different attributes including radar, LIDAR, cameras, ultrasonics and structured light technology, Jaguar said.
Dr Epple added: ‘We are working on an array of new sensors that would enable a car to operate in any environment, without any outside intervention or input from lane markings or roadside infrastructure like traffic lights. Our research engineers have a nickname for a car with this level of capability: the 'Solo Car'.’
Jaguar's 'Multi-Point Turn' Range Rover Sport will perform an autonomous 180-degree turn using sensors to assess available space and avoid hazards and taking over gear selection, steering, braking and acceleration.
Jaguar Land Rover is part of the UK Autodrive consortium undertaking real-world testing of new automated car technologies in Coventry and Milton Keynes.