Jaguar Land Rover has said that it will have 100 driverless cars on the streets by 2020 after recently announcing a £11m research fund into the technology.
The company confirmed the research funding last October with the backing and the expertise of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
The plan is to create fully autonomous cars, and Jaguar Land Rover head of research Tony Harper explained that progress is being made.
"Our connected and automated technology could help improve traffic flow, cut congestion and reduce the potential for accidents," he said.
"We will also improve the driving experience, with drivers able to choose how much support and assistance they need. In traffic, for example, the driver could choose autonomy assist during tedious or stressful parts of the journey."
The firm has also had to remember that people are going to be involved and that the autonomous system must be up to the task of delivering them from A to B.
"But even when an enthusiastic driver is fully focused on enjoying the thrill of the open road, the new technology we are creating will still be working in the background to help keep them safe," Harper added.
"Because the intelligent car will always be alert and is never distracted, it could guide you through road works and prevent accidents.
"If you are a keen driver, imagine being able to receive a warning that there's a hazard out of sight or around a blind bend. Whether it's a badly parked car or an ambulance heading your way, you could slow down, pass the hazard without fuss and continue on your journey."
There is more official stuff on YouTube (below). A series of videos shows off the kind of technology that such motors will employ to avoid crashing into drunk and texting motorists or cyclists and dog walkers.
These include Horizon Warning, which uses car-to-car communication and wireless to inform the vehicle about upcoming obstacles. Another offers an example of the vehicle's ability to pull away safely. Here Jaguar suggests a meeting of man and machine.
"At Jaguar, our vision is to offer autonomous driving in real-world environments. Safe Pullaway is just one of these research technologies. With the aim of reducing low-speed collisions, it uses the stereo camera to monitor the area immediately in front of the vehicle," the firm said.
"If objects such as vehicles or walls are detected, the vehicle brakes are automatically applied and the driver receives an audible warning."
Jaguar and the EPSRC said in October that the £11m funding would be dished out between five UK projects and 10 universities.
"To realise the future potential for fully autonomous vehicles, we need to give drivers, pedestrians and other road users the confidence that a car driving around with little or no human input is a safe, viable and a rewarding experience," said Dr Wolfgang Epple, director of research and technology at Jaguar at the time.
"These collaborative projects will bring some of the UK's leading academics together with our autonomous driving team to address the fundamental real-world challenges that are part of our journey towards autonomous driving."
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