Jaguar Land Rover’s self-driving car research takes an ironic twist

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) today announced it’s investing $7.9 million (£5.5 million) over three years in autonomous driving technology, with a hint of irony. The company plans on having humans pilot the self-driving cars to shape its autonomous driving capabilities for natural driving on a daily commute.

The company claims people have troubles trusting an autonomous car when it drives like a robot, which I absolutely agree with. Current autonomous cars are engineered to follow every rule and law of the road, on a conservative level.

When it comes to roundabouts, changing weather conditions, intersections and merging, it might not follow your particular driving style. By having acquiring data from a variety of different human driving styles, JLR can tweak its autonomous cars to varying driving preferences.

Personally, I hope JLR uses this research opportunity to create autonomous cars with different drive modes, much like how cars now can alter steering feel, throttle response and transmission shift points with a simple drive mode button. I would love to have an autonomous car that lets you alter the driving capabilities from conservative to aggressive to match economical or enthusiastic driving styles.

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The JLR investment is part of a bigger MOVE-UK consortium led by Bosch, a major automotive parts supplier, with the UK government pitching in with a $3.9 million (£2.75 million) grant from Innovate UK.

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