Jaguar Land Rover's self-driving car research takes an ironic twist

Land Rover Discovery Sport

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) today announced it's investing $7.9 million (£5.5 million) over three years in autonomous driving technology, with a hint of irony. The company plans on having humans pilot the self-driving cars to shape its autonomous driving capabilities for natural driving on a daily commute.

The company claims people have troubles trusting an autonomous car when it drives like a robot, which I absolutely agree with. Current autonomous cars are engineered to follow every rule and law of the road, on a conservative level.

When it comes to roundabouts, changing weather conditions, intersections and merging, it might not follow your particular driving style. By having acquiring data from a variety of different human driving styles, JLR can tweak its autonomous cars to varying driving preferences.

Personally, I hope JLR uses this research opportunity to create autonomous cars with different drive modes, much like how cars now can alter steering feel, throttle response and transmission shift points with a simple drive mode button. I would love to have an autonomous car that lets you alter the driving capabilities from conservative to aggressive to match economical or enthusiastic driving styles.

The JLR investment is part of a bigger MOVE-UK consortium led by Bosch, a major automotive parts supplier, with the UK government pitching in with a $3.9 million (£2.75 million) grant from Innovate UK.