It is like something out of James Bond – a fact that will immediately have people excited (because, you know, the life of 007 is quite something). Jaguar Land Rover has unveiled some of its latest developments in the field of autonomous driving and it's breathtaking to say the least.
In the not so distant future, drivers will, just like the fictional British spy, drive their car using a smartphone. The UK-based research team lifted the lid on its prototype on its Remote Control Range Rover Sport and it truly is out of this world. You have to blink and remind yourself that this is real. You are not watching a Bond movie.
The app on the smartphone effectively gives drivers full control of the vehicle, even though they are not inside. You can, for example, steer, change speed and brake. Short of nothing, you’re driving but, well, you’re not (yeah, it took us a moment to get our heads around that).
While many may think that this is rather gimmicky and has no value outside of movies, they are perhaps a little too presumptuous in their assessment. Jaguar Land Rover explains that controlling your vehicle with a smartphone would be appropriate for tricky situations, when you could do with being outside of the car.
“The driver could use the smartphone to reverse the car out of a parking space if someone has parked too close for them to open the door, or allow the driver to become their own off-road spotter, to guide the car over off-road obstacles from outside the vehicle,” the company stated in an official press release.
“By walking alongside the car, the driver could continually check ramp, approach and departure angles and allow precise positioning of the vehicle when rock crawling. It could also be an invaluable aid when the vehicle is fording a stream or traversing sections made slippery by mud or snow.”
Jaguar Land Rover added that the remote control functionality on the smartphone would only work if the user is close to the vehicle (within a ten-metre radius). And, a smart key, revealing that it is your car, would also need to be detected. This helps ensure that drivers, other motorists and pedestrians remain safe.
This latest development, while still a prototype, is part of a wider motor industry wide initiative to develop driverless, robotic and tech-focused cars. The idea is that we will get to a position where we can confidently delegate driving responsibilities to a machine and not worry about a thing.
Equally, the more powerful the machines powering cars becomes, the easier our life will become. So, if you think you can’t park into a tight parking bay but your car thinks otherwise – again, quite mind bending to say – you can let it perform the function for you.
Dr Wolfgang Epple, director of research and technology at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Getting a car out of a tricky parking manoeuvre can be a stressful experience for any driver.
“A remote control car, or a vehicle that can autonomously turn in the road, demonstrates how we could use these new technologies to reduce the tedious parts of driving and improve road safety.”