News - Jaguar
Jaguar mimics human behaviour in driverless cars
Home James: Self-driving Jaguars and Land Rovers will feel more like there is a human at the wheel, thanks to a new project that analyses driver behaviour in difficult situations.
Data profiling project to make autonomous Jaguars respond more naturally
2 February 2016
JAGUAR Land Rover has initiated a multi-million dollar project that will allow
its autonomous cars to behave less like emotionless computers and more like the
human drivers they replace.
With self-driving cars that react to a changing environment in a more natural
manner, JLR is planning to make autonomous technology easier for consumers to
accept, as the company draws ever closer to offering its first production model.
A team of Jaguar Land Rover employees will drive a specially modified fleet of
vehicles around London's suburb of Greenwich to log data on how human drivers
react to the various challenges faced during everyday driving.
The information will create a vital profile on how different drivers respond to
stressful situations and the decisions they make when under pressure.
Cameras and sensors around the vehicles will capture data in various real-world
scenarios such as responding to an approaching emergency vehicle, negotiating
roundabouts and busy junctions and joining moving traffic.
Without the farmed data incorporated into an autonomous vehicle's algorithms,
driverless cars may respond to situations requiring a rapid decision in a
peculiar or uncomfortable manner for passengers.
“Customers are much more likely to accept highly-automated and fully autonomous
vehicles if the car reacts in the same way as the driver,” said Jaguar Land
Rover research and technology director Wolfgang Epple.
“By understanding and measuring positive driving behaviours we can ensure that
an autonomous Jaguar or Land Rover of the future will not simply perform a
robotic function,” he said.
“To successfully introduce autonomous cars, we actually need to focus more on
the driver than ever before. Understanding how drivers react to a range of very
dynamic and random situations in the real world is essential if we want drivers
to embrace autonomous cars in the future.”
With more confidence in autonomous technology, Dr Epple said owners would make
the best use of the technology, sticking to conventional driving on more
enjoyable roads but allowing the car to take over in more stressful situations.
“Ultimately we want to be able to give drivers the choice of an engaged or
autonomous drive. If drivers have confidence in the automation they will
seamlessly flick from one mode to the other.
“Autonomous mode will help with any challenging, or less stimulating activities
on the journey, like parking or driving in heavy traffic. If this automated
experience feels natural and safe, the driver will be able to genuinely relax
and will be happy to let the car take control.”
In 2013, GoAuto reported on a research paper that found drivers often resort to
mild aggression when negotiating tricky situations on the road, and that
self-driving cars will need to do the same.
Without the ability to make an assertive decision, computer-controlled cars
would grind to a halt, unable to take decisive action, while human-controlled
vehicles used aggression to progress.
The revelation that machines may need to have the ability to become aggressive,
even in a mild sense, raises a complex moral conundrum that is yet to be fully
JLR says its behavioural study will help insurance companies establish a
benchmark for autonomous car insurance policies, but exactly which underwriters
will be willing to cover a vehicle that has the potential to become aggressive
remains to be seen.
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