Range Rover Cracks Notorious UK Highway

A notorious road network in the UK’s Midlands has been conquered by a driverless Range Rover Sport.

The mess of junctions packed together running off the main dual carriageway has long been seen one of the most challenging roads in the country for drivers to navigate. Yet a prototype self-driving Range Rover Sport handled the complex Coventry Ring Road, successfully changing lanes, merging with traffic and exiting junctions at the speed limit of 40mph.

The trial was part of the £20M ($26M) government-funded project, UK Autodrive, which ends this month after a three-year program. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) engineers had conducted extensive self-driving technology testing on closed tracks before heading onto public roads in Milton Keynes and Coventry.

The Range Rover Sport chosen for its performance and existing features, such as adaptive cruise control, has been modified to include additional navigation sensors, radar and LiDAR. Coupled with the UK Autodrive research, the vehicle is claimed to be able to autonomously handle roundabouts, traffic lights, pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles on complicated roads. It can also park itself.

Mark Cund, JLR autonomous vehicle research manager, said: “The Coventry Ring Road is known for its complicated slip roads and exits. It makes for very challenging conditions, especially when under pressure in the rush hour. Our self-driving car is not impacted by the same pressure, frustrations or fatigue that a driver may experience and so it’s capable of turning a potentially very stressful situation into a completely stress-free one.”

The vehicle’s safety and emission reducing technology claims both V2V and V2X capability.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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