New Jaguar Land Rover Project Vector showcases autonomous future

The new JLR Project Vector autonomous pod sits on a new platform and is scheduled for on-road trials before the end of 2021

This is Project Vector, a new concept from Jaguar Land Rover designed to showcase a new vehicle platform developed for the British manufacturer. And the company is already promising to put the futuristic pod into on-road trials within the next 18 months. 

Developed at the National Automotive Innovation Centre in Coventry, Project Vector sits on a new chassis that Jaguar Land Rover is calling ‘autonomy ready’ – but the concept shown in the initial images is equipped with a steering wheel.

• JLR Virtual Eyes autonomous pod

It’s just over four metres long and all of its battery and electric drivetrain parts are packaged into a flat floor, allowing a wide range of cabin layouts that could suit private use, public transport or even commercial services such last-mile deliveries.

JLR says it plans to collaborate with Coventry City Council and the West Midlands authorities to create a mobility service based on Project Zero, starting in late 2021. It says the scheme will act as “a living laboratory for future mobility on the streets of Coventry” – so it’s likely that JLR will use the trials to harness data about usage and Project Vector’s ability to perform autonomous tasks in a fixed set of environments. 

As with most pod-based autonomous projects, Vector is likely to be based – initially, at least – in a closely defined geographical area – but JLR has not issued any further details on where its mobility service will operate.

The National Automobile Innovation Centre has been chosen as a base for Project Vector to help encourage rapid, agile working and to attract additional input from academic and commercial partners beyond JLR’s usual sources. 

Dr Tim Leverton, the director of Project Vector said, “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.”

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