Jaguar Land Rover is Developing Off-road Self-driving SUVs in Project CORTEX

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By Bennett  Oghifo

Jaguar Land Rover is developing autonomous cars capable of all-terrain, off-road driving in any weather condition. 

The world-first ‘CORTEX’ project will take self-driving cars off-road, ensuring they are fully capable in any weather condition: dirt, rain, ice, snow or fog. As part of the project, a ‘5D’ technique combining acoustic, video, radar, light detection and distance sensing (LiDAR) data live in real-time is being engineered. Access to this combined data improves the awareness of the environment the car is in. Machine-learning enables the self-driving car to behave in an increasingly sophisticated way, allowing it to handle any weather condition on any terrain.

Chris Holmes, Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “It’s important that we develop our self-driving vehicles with the same capability and performance customers expect from all Jaguars and Land Rovers. 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. CORTEX gives us the opportunity to work with some fantastic partners whose expertise will help us realise this vision in the near future.”

Jaguar Land Rover is developing fully- and semi-automated vehicle technologies, offering customers a choice of the level of automation, while maintaining an enjoyable and safe driving experience. 

This project forms part of the company’s vision to make the self-driving car viable in the widest range of real-life, on- and off-road driving environments and weather.

CORTEX will develop the technology through algorithm development, sensor optimisation and physical testing on off-road tracks in the UK. The University of Birmingham, with its world leading research in radar and sensing for autonomous platforms and Myrtle AI, machine learning experts, join the project. CORTEX was announced as part of Innovate UK’s third round of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Funding in March 2018. 

Meanwhile, Land Rover has enhanced its record-breaking Discovery Sport range with a new special edition.

The new Landmark Edition salutes Discovery Sport’s success as the fastest-selling Land Rover of all time – coinciding with the brand’s year-long 70th anniversary celebrations. The Landmark comes in a unique colour and trim combination, and is available with the Td4 132kW diesel 2.0-litre Ingenium engine.

Finbar McFall, Global Product Marketing Director, said: “The Discovery Sport is loved by customers because it demonstrates the breadth of Land Rover’s ability, offering unrivalled all-terrain capability with the versatility for up to seven people and a premium interior. We have sold more than 350,000 Discovery Sports globally since its introduction in 2014, with 126,078 models sold in 2017 – the best single-model annual sales in Land Rover’s 70-year history.”

The first model to be built on Land Rover’s 70th birthday on 30 April was a Discovery Sport, at Land Rover’s Halewood plant in Merseyside. This vehicle will be used to support a number of projects in 2018, starting with a community resilience project in Scotland which will be announced in June.

The Discovery Sport Landmark is available in three colours: Narvik Black, Corris Grey and Yulong White, all crowned with a Carpathian Grey contrast roof. It features a sporty and dynamic front bumper, with Graphite Atlas exterior accents and 19 inch Style 521 ‘Mantis’ wheels in Gloss Dark Grey. The interior features Ebony grained leather seats and an Ebony headliner, complemented by dark grey aluminium finishers around the centre stack.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport Landmark Edition will be available from September 2018. Coscharis Motors represents Jaguar Land Rover in Nigeria.

Also, Jaguar Land Rover’s venture capital arm has invested in Outdoor Adventure Platform and 3D mapping technology company FATMAP.

FATMAP has pioneered a new mapping tool for outdoor adventure lovers and mountain professionals

Land Rover and FATMAP both have adventure lifestyles at their heart. Travel and digital lifestyle services are a key focus area for InMotion Ventures.

InMotion Ventures, Jaguar Land Rover’s venture capital arm, has announced its investment in FATMAP, the leading platform for outdoor adventure lovers and mountain professionals with cutting-edge global 3D mapping technology.

The investment from InMotion Ventures, along with Episode 1 and Capnamic Ventures, will support FATMAP with their global ambition to become a key destination for adventure and outdoor activities. Skiers, hikers, trail-runners, mountain-bikers and climbers can all use FATMAP technology to navigate the off-road world more easily.

Both FATMAP and Land Rover have adventure lifestyles at their heart. Land Rover offers best-in-class off-road capability; FATMAP develops best-in-class 3D mapping with the ambition of becoming a global platform for adventure.

Misha Gopaul, Chief Executive Officer, FATMAP, said: “Recent innovation in mapping has been focused on urban environments and until now the rest of the planet has been stuck with outdated tools. Our new global platform addresses the growing need for people to disconnect and spend time in the outdoors and a key part of our mission to help people to have better, safer adventures.   Our ultimate vision is to become the go-to destination for outdoor adventure and travel and InMotion Ventures are the perfect partner to help us achieve that.” 

Sebastian Peck, Managing Director, InMotion Ventures, said: “Delivering great digital experiences that are consistent with our brands is fundamental to our strategy. Investing in the next generation of technology enabling travel and outdoor adventures is becoming an important focus area for InMotion Ventures. We are very excited to be working with Misha Gopaul and his leadership team at FATMAP to build the ultimate tool that allows outdoor adventurers and professional athletes to discover and master the most challenging territory.”

FATMAP is the 13th company to join InMotion Ventures’ portfolio. InMotion Ventures invests in high-growth companies in the mobility, transportation and travel sector. Powered by Jaguar Land Rover, we’re dedicated to backing innovations that will change the way we move. We invest globally in start-ups at all stages from Seed to Series B. Alongside our core investment activity, we collaborate with the wider Jaguar Land Rover business to develop new products and services that provide unforgettable experiences for new and existing customers.

Learn more about InMotion Ventures and its investments at inmotionventures.com

FATMAP’s advanced 3D mapping technology, outdoor community and curated adventure guidebook is used by top professionals and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy better, safer adventure.  They are building a global Outdoor Adventure Platform that brings together consumers with businesses, destinations and brands.