Jaguar Land Rover, like most major automakers, is working on autonomous car technology. For the British automaker, it’s important its autonomous cars have a very similar reaction to a human driver so that not only the person behind the wheel but also other people on the road are more accepting of the technology.
To achieve this, Jaguar Land Rover is relying on information gathered from a fleet of test vehicles driven by its own staff in parts of London. The fleet is being used to establish how a range of different drivers react to real-world driving situations, including heavy traffic, busy junctions, road works and bad weather.
Data from sensors in these cars will reveal the natural driving behaviors and decision-making that drivers make. Particular areas of focus will be driver reactions in complex situations such as intersections, merging, roundabouts and when an emergency vehicle appears. Much of the development will also take place in a test area near Jaguar Land Rover's operations in the United Kingdom, where 41 miles of roads have been designated by the government for firms testing autonomous and connected car technology.
Jaguar Land Rover says this research will not only make people more accepting of the technology but also aid development of future insurance policies for autonomous cars. The automaker says insurance experts will provide their expertise on the liability of certain scenarios using the real-world driving data supplied by the fleet of test cars. Considering the technology is meant to make roads safer by eliminating human error, the primary cause of accidents according to most studies, it may lead to reduced insurance premiums.
“Ultimately we want to be able to give drivers the choice of an engaged or autonomous drive,” Jaguar Land Rover R&D chief Wolfgang Epple said in a statement. “If drivers have confidence in the automation they will seamlessly flick from one mode to the other."