Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) recently became the largest automotive manufacturer operating in the UK. The company operates from three manufacturing plants and two design centres across Britain, employing over 25,000 people. Billions of pounds have been invested in the sites to help them keep up with demand and allow the production of new vehicles. This investment has helped to create thousands of new motor trade jobs.
JLR recently announced that they will be involved in the testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads in the UK as part of the Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (CITE) project. The tests will be the first in the country and will involve a fleet of 100 vehicles fitted with the latest technology driving on 41 miles of roads. There will be five current models of Jaguar Land Rover vehicles involved in the tests. Each one has been specially modified to use the technology.
During the CITE test a range of different technologies will be trialled including systems that will be able to read roadside infrastructure including overhead gantries and traffic lights. There will be new technology to help improve road safety, reduce congestion and systems to enhance the driving experience too.
The new technology could have huge benefits if is introduced in the future, particularly the systems that can read overhead gantries. Each gantry costs approximately £1 million to build and then needs to be maintained in the future to keep it stable and functioning properly. If they are no longer needed, there could be huge savings which would provide funds to be invested in other areas including improvements to road surfaces and layouts.
Technology is also being tested that will detect when an emergency is approaching and warn the driver so they can make safer decisions. This could help to make the roads safer, potentially reducing the number of accidents and associated traffic problems. The system could include warning lights on the dashboard that indicate when there are problems.
The tests will certainly be exciting and it will be interesting to see how the technologies perform. If successful they could lead to even more jobs being created in the automotive sector in the future.