The end of dune bashing? Autonomous off-roading is on its way

Jaguar Land Rover has announced a Dh18.1 million project to pioneer the technology

The days of dune bashing as we known it could be numbered after Jaguar Land Rover announced its plans for a project to create autonomous off-roading vehicles.

While the race towards building road cars with fully autonomous capabilities is well underway, with established carmakers from Cadillac and Nissan to Elon Musk’s upstart Tesla brand leading the charge, JLR is looking to break new ground with its Cortex initiative.

The £3.7 million (Dh18.1m) project will pioneer a “5D” combination of technologies – acoustic, video, radar, light detection and distance sensing– to give the vehicles the ability to self-drive off-road in any weather conditions and on any terrain.

The aim is to achieve Level 4 and 5 automation – the latter designation is defined as full automation, with no need for a steering wheel or human intervention.

JLR’s vehicles will be aided by machine learning that uses awareness of their surrounding environments to help improve how they cope with different weather and terrain.

JLR isn’t the only manufacturer developing such technology, however – Ford was last year granted a patent for autonomous off-road driving, while earlier this year, Honda unveiled an off-road concept robot that has been designed to complete tasks in dangerous environments and aid in search-and-rescue missions.

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