THE JAGUAR OF THE FUTURE WILL DRIVE ITSELF
Now, you’re probably thinking “here we go again, another concept car that’s just here for publicity and will never become reality”. Well, obvious you’d be right about the first bit, but this, from Jaguar Land Rover, will appear on the roads of Coventry next year.
Even more remarkably, the car won’t have a driver, as we’d understand the term, as it is designed to be fully autonomous, as well as electric, naturally (it may have a minder sitting up front instead). It promises to be the most eye-catching thing for the city since Lady Godiva.
“Project Vector”, as it’s known, is an “autonomy-ready platform”, say JLR, which will “offer solution to today’s urban mobility challenges with unparalleled interior space and flexibility in vehicle configuration”.
JLR also joins a growing number of car companies dedicated to achieving a future of zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion – throughout its products, services and across its facilities. Sceptics will argue, as they do, that the energy required to transport and manufacture millions of lithium-ion batteries, of the kind used in all-electric vehicles, may take the edge off the new technology’s sustainability; but at least the debate is live, and the technology (apparently) works.
Freed from many of the constraints of the conventional car, the compact Project Vector concept measures just four metres in length and is designed for the city, packaging all its battery and drivetrain components into a flat floor. The revolutionary interior cabin space allows seating configurations for private or shared use and the opportunity for commercial applications, such as last-mile deliveries.
Sir Ralf Speth, JLR chief executive, commented: “Jaguar Land Rover understands the trends shaping modern societies. Project Vector shows Jaguar Land Rover as a leader in innovation to make our societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner. Through this project, we are collaborating with the brightest minds in academia, supply chain and digital services, to create connected, integrated mobility systems – the fundamental building blocks for Destination Zero.
“Project Vector is precisely the brave and innovative leap forward needed to deliver on our mission.”
Project Vector will be based at the National Automotive Innovation Centre at the University of Warwick, working with Coventry City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority to launch a mobility service pilot starting in late 2021, as a “living laboratory” for future mobility on the streets of Coventry.
Tim Leverton, project director, added: “The megatrends of urbanisation and digitalisation make connected urban mobility systems necessary and inevitable. Shared and private vehicles will share spaces with and be connected to public transit networks, so you can travel on demand and autonomously. That is a complex task, best achieved by working together with partners across the spectrum of vehicles, infrastructure and the digital world.
“With the technology and engineering power of Jaguar Land Rover, we can provide a unique opportunity for innovators to develop highly functional urban mobility services, seamlessly integrated into everyday life.
“Future urban travel will be a composite of owned and shared vehicles, access to ride hailing and on-demand services as well as public transport. Our vision shows the vehicle as a flexible part of the urban mobility network that can be adapted for different purposes.”