Off-road drivers often can’t see obstacles or determine the best line from inside the cockpit, but Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has a solution. The company recently unveiled a specialized smartphone app for their Range Rover Sport, which drivers can use to control their vehicle’s steering, throttle input, brakes, and transfer case remotely. Remote-controlled Range Rover Sports can travel a maximum of 4 mph to prevent owners from losing their vehicles.
The new system allows Range Rover drivers to become their own off-road spotters, meaning that traversing water, mud ruts, or technical trails becomes much less harrowing. The remote control system only works if the vehicle detects the Smart Key a maximum of 10 meters away, and, for safety reasons, the function will be suspended if the driver comes too close to the vehicle.
In addition, alongside the remote-controlled Range Rover Sport, the company announced their “Multi-Point Turn” Range Rover Sport, which can autonomously turn itself 180 degrees in order to maneuver out of tight spaces. On command, the Range Rover Sport can take over braking, throttle, and gear selection before it uses a variety of sensors to complete a safe three-point turn.
Dr. Wolfgang Epple, Director of Jaguar Land Rover Research and Technology, said the following: “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.”
Given that many bemoan autonomous cars as anathema to driving pleasure, it’s refreshing to see a top executive who keeps driving dynamics at the forefront of self-driving car development. It’s unclear whether either of JLR’s newest technologies will see use on production vehicles, but it seems likely that future JLR safety features will take inspiration from these developments.
Please enjoy this TFLcar.com video review of the 2014 Range Rover Sport.