In Brief

Jaguar Land Rover begins trialling first driverless car

Range Rover Sport-based prototype will be able to navigate a city without any steering or pedal inputs

Jaguar Land Rover Group begins trialling its first autonomous vehicle today, with the aim to offer a car with self-driving capabilities both on and off-road.

The driverless prototype, which is based on the Range Rover Sport SUV, is fitted with "technology that can enable the vehicle to operate autonomously through a city", it says.

Onboard computers will be capable of Level 4 autonomy, meaning the prototype Range Rover can follow roads in urban areas without the intervention of a driver. 

However, it's one level shy of "the ultimate" driverless system, says Autocar. Level 5 vehicles can drive themselves without having any occupants in the car. This helps with tasks such as self-parking and picking up passengers.

With Jaguar's car, occupants will be able to select a destination and the Range Rover will determine and follow the best route, without the driver needing to use the steering wheel or pedals. 

The group is "working with lots of other partners in the UK to develop both semi and fully autonomous vehicles", says Top Gear.

They are being assisted through the  government-backed £20m Autodrive research and development project, adds the website, which aims to put the UK at "the forefront of connected and autonomous innovation".

Development for the group's first electric vehicle, the I-Pace SUV, is already well underway. 

There's no word yet on whether it will feature driverless systems, but the announcement of Jaguar Land Rover trialling autonomous technology indicates it may appear in some form.

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