Self-driv­ing tech­nol­ogy gives hope

Albany Extra - - Motoring - Ewan Kennedy

Ahead of the In­vic­tus Games in Syd­ney from Oc­to­ber 20 to 27, pre­sent­ing part­ner Jaguar Land Rover has in­vited wounded, in­jured and sick war­riors to ex­pe­ri­ence a self-driv­ing Range Rover Sport on some of the UK’s most com­pli­cated roads.

Team UK games cap­tain Mark “Dot” Perkins and Ital­ian team mem­ber Si­mone Careddu joined for­mer com­peti­tors Jamie Weller and JJ Chalmers to ride in the level 4 au­ton­o­mous SUV on pub­lic roads in Mil­ton Keynes.

The self-driv­ing ve­hi­cle suc­cess­fully nav­i­gated round­abouts, traf­fic lights, speeds of up to 80km/h, junc­tions and lane changes.

Th­ese in­no­va­tions, de­vel­oped as part of the UK Au­to­drive Con­sor­tium, ad­dress tech­ni­cal chal­lenges posed by ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments in­clud­ing pedes­tri­ans, cy­clists, se­cu­rity and in­fra­struc­ture.

The com­peti­tors’ feed­back will help Jaguar Land Rover un­der­stand how au­ton­o­mous tech­nol­ogy could im­prove the lives of mil­lions of peo­ple liv­ing with lim­ited mo­bil­ity.

“Tech­nol­ogy has moved on so much, I al­ready feel pre­his­toric,” Mr Perkins said.

“As my chil­dren grow up it will seem ex­tra­or­di­nary to them that peo­ple used to phys­i­cally drive cars.”

Jamie Weller, vet­eran Royal Navy air­craft en­gi­neer, who suf­fered a vis­ual im­pair­ment in the course of his mil­i­tary ca­reer, en­joyed the drive.

“It was a great op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence the new tech­nol­ogy Jaguar Land Rover is de­vel­op­ing.

“It’s ex­cit­ing to be dis­cussing cars that could be used by vis­ually im­paired peo­ple. The tech­nol­ogy has so many pos­i­tive ben­e­fits for any­one liv­ing with a dis­abil­ity.”

Jim O’Donoghue, Jaguar Land Rover Au­ton­o­mous Re­search En­gi­neer, found the feed­back valu­able.

“It’s been fan­tas­tic to spend time with the In­vic­tus Games com­peti­tors, gain­ing open and hon­est feed­back from peo­ple who truly un­der­stand what it’s like to have the free­dom of driv­ing taken away, whether tem­po­rar­ily or per­ma­nently.

“The com­peti­tors’ in­sight has been in­valu­able.

“We are al­ready work­ing with in­dus­try, academia and gov­ern­ment to bring self-driv­ing cars to the roads within the next 10 years, with the am­bi­tion of zero ac­ci­dents, zero emis­sions and zero con­ges­tion for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

“To add zero mo­bil­ity bar­ri­ers to this list would be a huge achieve­ment and some­thing we are striv­ing for.”

The In­vic­tus Games use the power of sport to in­spire re­cov­ery, sup­port re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and gen­er­ate a wider un­der­stand­ing and re­spect for wounded, in­jured and sick ser­vice­men and women.

To learn more about the In­vic­tus Games Syd­ney 2018, visit: www.in­vic­tus­games2018.org/.

Pic­tures: Mar­que Motoring

Vet­er­ans with im­pair­ments can have their Range Rovers do their driv­ing for them.

Si­mone Careddu of the Ital­ian team.

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