Land Rover Aims for Off-Road Autonomy

Autonomous cars are the automotive industry's next frontier. In one way or another, every major manufacturer is developing or testing technologies that have the potential to make their vehicles either partly or entirely self-driving. Land Rover is no exception in that regard, but the company's approach to the technology turns out to be as exceptional as their legendary SUVs found at the Land Rover Indianapolis showroom.

Ever since the brand's first vehicle was built in 1948, Land Rover and Range Rover vehicles have been synonymous with off-road performance. Therein lies the Land Rover difference when it comes to autonomy: while most car manufacturers are tweaking methods to keep their cars on the road, Land Rover is exploring the best way to bring a touch of autonomy to off-roading.

The system, developed and recently demonstrated at the Jaguar Land Rover Research Centre in Gaydon, Warwickshire, deploys ultrasonic sensors that scan and interpret the terrain five meters (16 feet) ahead of the vehicle, detecting sand, mud, water, and even branches overhead. That information is then fed to the vehicle's Terrain Response system, which helps the Land Rover or Range Rover transition seamlessly among various types of terrain.

A self-driving Range Rover Evoque or Land Rover Discovery may be years away from Land Rover dealership serving Carmel, IN. That's not to say that we'll be waiting that long to reap the benefits of the work that's being done now. Given that the new system has shown promise in rain and snow, and can even chain several vehicles' systems via artificial intelligence so they can share and leverage terrain information, there are some interesting possibilities on -- and off -- the road ahead.

Given the joy that comes with being in the driver's seat of a Land Rover LR4 or Range Rover Evoque, we're sure you'd rather handle your own driving. However, when it comes to technology that can make that driving experience even better (not to mention safer) than it is already, we're all for it. We invite drivers from Indianapolis to Fishers, IN to experience that joy at Land Rover Indianapolis.

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