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Autonomy comes to Range Rover

Land Rover has introduced advanced autonomous driving technologies in the Range Rover with a new model from Special Vehicle Operations (SVO), the Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic.

Since it redefined the luxury SUV sector more than 46 years ago, Range Rover has achieved more than one million sales. The original Classic model debuted in 1970 and over four generations the luxury SUV has established itself as a design reference for all-terrain luxury.

The new SVAutobiography Dynamic brings new levels of performance to the Range Rover, powered by a 405kW V8 supercharged engine. Building on the successful launch of the long-wheelbase Range Rover SVAutobiography, the SVAutobiography Dynamic is available in standard wheelbase specification and comes fitted with specially configured suspension designed to optimise agility without compromising Range Rover’s trademark refinement and comfort.

The 2017 model year Range Rover also debuts a selection of innovative new technologies, which provide the building blocks towards fully autonomous driving. These features include Advanced Tow Assist, an intelligent driver aid that takes the stress out of reversing a trailer.

In addition, Driver Condition Monitor and Blind Spot Assist, which autonomously steers the vehicle back into its lane if sensors detect the driver is steering into the path of another road user, are added to an extensive selection of advanced safety features.

Interior changes include a new larger 10-inch dual view touchscreen display, powered by Land Rover’s market-leading InControl Touch Pro system. The pinch and zoom, tablet-style touchscreen provides a host of new features including customisable homepages, enhanced satellite navigation functions and instant access to the driver’s favourite apps.

“Range Rover has been the world’s leading luxury SUV since its debut more than 46 years ago,” said Gerry McGovern, Land Rover Chief Design Officer. “Design is fundamental to this vehicle and the latest refinements reinforce its status as the ultimate luxury SUV. By offering our customers more choice, more technology and more power we ensure Range Rover remains in a class of its own.”

Land Rover provided the following summary:

The SVAutobiography Dynamic is the most powerful production Range Rover. Its potent 405kW 5.0-litre V8 supercharged engine is shared with the acclaimed Range Rover Sport SVR. The engine has been specifically calibrated for the flagship Range Rover and delivers 680Nm of torque, powering the SVAutobiography Dynamic from 0-100km/h in only 5.4 seconds. It is paired with ZF’s eight-speed automatic transmission for seamless gear changes and supreme performance.

The interior takes Range Rover to new heights of desirability and refinement. Diamond quilted leather seats with contrast stitching are available in four exclusive colourways, which complement the Ebony perforated leather headliner, giving an immediate impression of luxury. The front fascia and door casings feature a Grand Black veneer, with an additional Red keyline finish on the door casings. In addition, key features, such as the rotary shift controller, start stop button and pedals have a sophisticated knurled finish. Underlining its dynamic positioning, the paddle shifters are finished in anodized red (except when specified with a tan interior) while the driver’s handbook is bound in quilted leather chosen to match the interior.

The new addition to the range is identified by a series of unique exterior features. The side vents, bonnet finisher, grille, front bumper accents, Range Rover script and tailgate finisher are all finished in Graphite Atlas. Customers have a choice of 21 and 22-inch alloy wheel designs, as well as three unique finishes. The SVAutobiography Dynamic is also the first Range Rover available with eye-catching red brake calipers and Brembo brake technology.

Jaguar Land Rover’s SVO division has fine-tuned the suspension to achieve the optimum combination of performance and comfort. Revisions to the knuckles, links, springs and dampers provide a lower ride height (8mm lower than standard) and more immediate responses.

SVAutobiography Dynamic also features two driver-focused technologies designed to deliver improved body control and agility. Dynamic Response improves vehicle handling and occupant comfort by reducing the amount of body lean during cornering. The system controls the front and rear axles independently, delivering increased low-speed agility, superior high-speed stability and greater steering precision. Adaptive Dynamics monitors vehicle movements up to 500 times a second, reacting to driver inputs and changes in the road surface to provide greater control without compromising Range Rover’s peerless refinement.

In keeping with its more purposeful character, the SVAutobiography Dynamic features bright chrome quad tailpipes that have been optimised to enhance its distinctive V8 soundtrack.

“The Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic has been specially developed by the Special Vehicle Operations team to deliver a more engaging driving experience,” said Mark Stanton, Director of Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations. “It delivers the ultimate combination of performance and Range Rover luxury, befitting its unique position in the portfolio.”

2017 Range Rover adds convenience through innovative technology

Range Rover is the ultimate expression of luxury and 2017 Model Year customers can access more advanced autonomous technologies than ever before. Advanced Tow Assist debuts and takes the stress out of the potentially difficult task of reversing while towing a trailer.

Using the vehicle’s existing Surround Camera System the clever technology enables drivers to guide a trailer into position with minimal effort. By following the trajectory lines overlaid on an image from the rear-facing camera displayed on the central touchscreen, Advanced Tow Assist is able to automatically steer the vehicle to follow the path selected by the driver using the Terrain Response 2 rotary controller.

Advanced Tow Assist allows even the most inexperienced drivers to manoeuvre a trailer into position quickly, easily and safely – the intelligent set-up even alerts the driver if they are approaching a jack-knife situation.

Specialist technology enhances all-terrain credentials

Peerless all-terrain capability is a cornerstone of the Range Rover family and new 2017 model year Range Rover features a pair of new technologies designed to reinforce its class-leading credentials:

Low Traction Launch – A manually selectable driving mode designed to assist drivers when pulling away from a standstill on slippery surfaces such as wet grass, snow or ice. By controlling the amount of torque that can be applied by the driver, the system reduces the likelihood of wheelspin to maintain traction and ensure smooth acceleration.

The feature can be accessed independently through the central touchscreen and the driver is prompted to engage Low Traction Launch whenever Grass/Gravel/Snow mode is selected using Terrain Response 2. The system remains active until the vehicle reaches 30km/h.

All-Terrain Info Centre – Relays useful information to the driver relating to the vehicle’s configuration and status via the central touchscreen display.

Improved connectivity and intuitive interactivity

The introduction of Jaguar Land Rover’s InControl Touch Pro infotainment is a significant enhancement to 2017 Model Year Range Rover. The class-leading system delivers improved satellite navigation functionality and connectivity while its more intuitive operation is augmented by the new larger 10-inch dual-view touchscreen display.

InControl Touch Pro introduces a series of new app services to Range Rover. InControl Remote Premium allows customers to remotely control vehicle functions such as activating the climate control to cool or heat the car ready for departure, set and deactivate the alarm, and even start the engine. The app will alert owners if their vehicle alarm has been triggered.

Additional InControl Touch Pro Services include live apps that can be downloaded to the system to provide information such as weather reporting and flight tracking.

Improved satellite navigation and services

As part of the new InControl Touch Pro system fitted to 2017 model year Range Rover, the fully integrated satellite navigation has been extensively developed with a range of new features including door-to-door routing. The comprehensive system allows customers to set a destination on the Land Rover-dedicated smartphone Route Planner app.

The app will navigate you to the vehicle, before transferring further directions to the in-vehicle system. Once parked close to your destination, the system will switch back to the smartphone to guide owners to their chosen location on foot.

Commute mode automatically learns frequently used routes, such as the journey to work, and recommends the best route dependent on live traffic data. Meanwhile the sharing function allows owners to share their destination, arrival time and current location with friends, family and colleagues.

The driver is also able to view a partial or full navigation screen within the Virtual Instrument Display, depending on their preference. Rear passengers can also view the journey time and distance to destination using the built-in rear seat entertainment system and even browse navigation maps and send suggested destinations to the driver, who can choose to reject or accept them using the central touchscreen display.

Advanced safety systems

New 2017 model year Range Rover introduces a host of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) to the luxury SUV. Standard driver assistance technologies include Rear Park Distance Control, Cruise Control and Speed Limiter and Lane Departure Warning

The additional Drive Pack includes existing features such as Blind Spot Monitor and Reverse Traffic Detection.

The Drive Pro Pack takes the features from the Drive Pack and adds Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist. New to 2017 model year Range Rover is Blind Spot Assist, which automatically applies counter steering if the driver begins to change lane into the path of a following vehicle. Lane Keep Assist is another new feature for 2017 model year. It provides gentle, corrective steering input if it detects the vehicle drifting across the white lines out of its lane.

Unique colours and finishes for most luxurious Range Rover

The level of personalisation available for 2017 Model Year Range Rover is taken to new heights with the introduction of new exterior finishes available through Special Vehicle Operations.

The mix of 19 new colours gives customers a more varied choice of metallic and pearlescent colours, all available in either gloss or satin matte finishes. The additional options range from traditional shades to bolder, more contemporary choices. From spectacular, deep blacks to dramatic reds, the new colours perfectly complement and finish the design of the world’s most luxurious SUV.

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Two-thirds of adults ready for cars that drive themselves

The latest Looking Further with Ford Trends Report reveals that behaviour is changing across key areas of our lives

Self-driving cars are a hot topic today, but if you had to choose, would you rather your children ride in an autonomous vehicle or drive with a stranger? You may be surprised to learn that 67 per cent of adults globally would opt for the self-driving car.

That insight is one of many revealed in the 2019 Looking Further with Ford Trend Report, released last week. The report takes a deep look into the drivers of behavioural change, specifically uncovering the dynamic relationships consumers have with the shifting landscape of technology.

Change is not always easy, particularly when it is driven by forces beyond our control. In a global survey of 14 countries, Ford’s research revealed that 87 per cent of adults believe technology is the biggest driver of change. And while 79 per cent of adults maintain that technology is a force for good, there are large segments of the population that have significant concerns. Some are afraid of artificial intelligence (AI). Others fear the impact of technology on our emotional wellbeing.

“Individually and collectively, these behavioural changes can take us from feeling helpless to feeling empowered, and unleash a world of wonder, hope and progress,” says Kuda Takura, smart mobility specialist at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “At Ford we are deeply focused on human-centric design and are committed to finding mobility solutions that help improve the lives of consumers and their communities. In the context of change, we have to protect what we consider most valuable – having a trusted relationship with our customers. So, we are always deliberate and thoughtful about how we navigate change.”

Key insights from Ford’s 7th annual Trends Report:

Almost half of people around the world believe that fear drives change
Seven in 10 say that they are energised by change
87 per cent agree that technology is the biggest driver of today’s change
Eight in 10 citizens believe that technology is a force for good
45 per cent of adults globally report that they envy people who can disconnect from their devices
Seven out of 10 consumers agree that we should have a mandatory time-out from our devices

Click here to read more about the seven trends for 2019.

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At last, cars talk to traffic lights to catch ‘green wave’

By ANDRE HAINZLMAIER, head of development of apps, connected services and smart city at Audi.

Stop-and-go traffic in cities is annoying. By contrast, we are pleased when we have a “green wave” – but we catch them far too seldom, unfortunately. With the Traffic Light Information function, drivers are more in control. They drive more efficiently and are more relaxed because they know 250 meters ahead of a traffic light whether they will catch it on green. In the future, anonymized data from our cars can help to switch traffic lights in cities to better phases and to optimise the traffic flow.

In the USA, Audi customers have been using the “Time-to-Green” function for two years: if the driver will reach the lights on red, a countdown in the Audi virtual cockpit or head-up display counts the seconds to the next green phase. This service is now available at more than 5,000 intersections in the USA, for example in cities like Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland and Washington D.C. In the US capital alone, about 1,000 intersections are linked to the Traffic Light Information function.

Since February, Audi has offered a further function in North America. The purpose of this is especially to enable driving on the “green wave”. “Green Light Optimized Speed Advisory” (GLOSA) shows to the driver in the ideal speed for reaching the next traffic light on green.

Both Time-to-Green and GLOSA will be activated for the start of operation in Ingolstadt in selected Audi models. These include all Audi e-tron models and the A4, A6, A7, A8, Q3, Q7 and Q8 to be produced from mid-July (“model year 2020”). The prerequisite is the “Audi connect Navigation & Infotainment” package and the optional “camera-based traffic sign recognition”.

Why is this function becoming available in Europe two years later than in the USA? 

The challenges for the serial introduction of the service are much greater here than, for example, in the USA, where urban traffic light systems were planned over a large area and uniformly. In Europe, by contrast, the traffic infrastructure has developed more locally and decentrally – with a great variety of traffic technology. How quickly other cities are connected to this technology depends above all on whether data standards and interfaces get established and cities digitalise their traffic lights.

On this project, Audi is working with Traffic Technology Services (TTS). TTS prepares the raw data from city traffic management centres and transmits them to the Audi servers. From here, the information reaches the car via a fast Internet connection.

Audi is working to offer Traffic Light Information in further cities in Germany, Europe, Canada and the USA in the coming years. In the large east Chinese city of Wuxi, Audi and partners are testing networks between cars and traffic light systems in the context of a development project.

In future, Audi customers may be able to benefit from additional functions, for example when “green waves” are incorporated into the ideal route planning. It is also conceivable that Audi e-tron models, when cruising up to a red traffic light, will make increased used of braking energy in order to charge their batteries. Coupled with predictive adaptive cruise control (pACC), the cars could even brake automatically at red lights.

In the long term, urban traffic will benefit. When cars send anonymised data to the city, for example, traffic signals could operate more flexibly. Every driver knows the following situation: in the evening you wait at a red light – while no other car is to be seen far and wide. Networked traffic lights would then react according to demand. Drivers of other automotive brands will also profit from the development work that Audi is carrying out with Traffic Light Information – good news for cities, which are dependent on the anonymised data of large fleets to achieve the most efficient traffic management.

In future, V2I technologies like Traffic Light Information will facilitate automated driving. 

A city is one of the most complex environments for an autonomous car. Nevertheless, the vehicle has to be able to handle the situation, even in rain and snow. Data exchange with the traffic infrastructure can be highly relevant here. 

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