Jaguar Land Rover will be creating a fleet of over 100 research vehicles over the next four years to test autonomous and connected technology, with the first models to hit the streets later this year.
A report by Reuters said Britain’s biggest carmaker will drive the initial models on a new 66 km test route on motorways and urban roads near its headquarters and plants in central England.
According to Jaguar Land Rover head of research Tony Harper, its technology which includes a three-dimensional advanced view of the street ahead to recognise barriers and radio signal communication between cars could reduce hazards.
“Our connected and automated technology could help improve traffic flow, cut congestion and reduce the potential for accidents,” Harper said.
The British government has said the market for autonomous driving is worth £900 billion (RM4.8 trillion) worldwide, but legal obstacles need to be overcome, including determining who would be responsible in the event of an accident.
In March, Britain announced plans to test cars on motorways and launched a consultation on Monday to change insurance and motoring rules as it pursues plans to allow the public to use driverless cars on the streets by 2020.
Carmakers are investing heavily in autonomous technology, with Ford already part of a government-sanctioned autonomous testing project in England and Volvo planning to test driverless cars in London next year.
Nissan also aims to build its first mass-market autonomous car at its north of England facility in Sunderland, Britain’s biggest single car plant.
However, traditional automakers face competition from rivals such as Tesla and technology firms such as Google’s Alphabet Inc unit which hope to eventually be able to deploy fully autonomous vehicles without human controls.
In Britain, driverless car testing will need a person to be present and able to take control should the need arise.