Part of the fun of off-roading is pushing yourself and your vehicle to try new things; it’s almost like a bonding experience. In the last five years, there have been massive leaps made toward autonomous driving with Tesla leading the charge. Land Rover has been in the fray as well, and has combined its off-road heritage with self-driving technology in Project CORTEX. Like current self-driving technology, CORTEX will rely heavily on machine learning, as it results in far more complex and accurate algorithms than a human could create.
Hardware onboard the vehicle will consist of a “5-D” technique. This technique combines acoustic, video, radar, light detection, and distance sensing data in real-time. Combining all this data and processing it with machine learning will allow CORTEX to drive in any conditions such as dirt, mud, rain, snow, and fog. The goal is to enable off-road autonomy.
“It’s important that we develop our self-driving vehicles with the same capability and performance customers expect from all Jaguars and Land Rovers,” said Chris Holmes, Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover. “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.”
Of course, autonomous off-roading isn’t going to be a huge selling future for upcoming Land Rover models. However, it helps Land Rover improve their current technology to a new level of sophistication. Autonomous off-roading could be an attractive feature for militaries as well. For now, it’s a really cool $4.3M project with exciting possibilities.