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.
Chris Holmes, Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “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.”
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 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.
Personally I believe that this is just another way in which we humans will lose vital skills. Yes, new aids fitted to vehicles have saved many lives. ABS for instance has helped me out numerous times over the years, but just because it's there doesn't mean that you should rely on it.
It's fantastic that we are able to make this technology possible, but when you put this sort of tech into a 4x4 and let folk loose in harsh environments for it to inevitably break down, you're left with an unskilled driver who doesn't know the difference between high and low boxes. That's just my two-penneth...