Vehicles | July 13, 2016 9:00 am

Land Rover Wants to Take You Four-Wheeling … in an Autonomous Car

Off-roading for people who don’t know how to off-road

Only 15% of four-wheel-drive owners actually go off-road.

That’s a crying shame. Perhaps if someone else were driving, these puppies would see more mud.

Someone like … the car itself.

Attention the 85% of you who are wasting your badass SUV to get groceries: you’re in luck, because Land Rover is currently developing autonomous tech that can take on sand, snow, gravel and sleet.

The self-controlled system will be able to identify surface conditions and adjust accordingly without the driver’s participation. Made possible by advanced ultrasonic sensors which scan 16 feet ahead of the Rover to assess any obstacles and/or changing conditions, as well as modify the vehicle’s mode and speed in advance.

The sensoring system will monitor not only the road below, but come equipped with stereo cameras that create a 3D picture of the car’s path, forewarning of any oncoming branches or low clearance levels.

Should you find yourself on this wilderness safari from the future, we recommend recruiting some friends to tag along — Jaguar Land Rover says its autonomous tech works best with multiple vehicles.

“If a vehicle has stopped, other vehicles in the convoy will be alerted – if the wheels drop into a hole, or perhaps slip on a difficult boulder, this information is transmitted to all of the other vehicles,” said Tony Harper, Head of Research at Jaguar Land Rover. “In the future, a convoy of autonomous vehicles would use this information to automatically adjust their settings or even change their route to help them tackle the obstacle.”

Could this scenario actually be safer than having a human at the helm?

According to Jaguar, “because the sensors are always active and can see better than the driver, this advanced sensing will ultimately give a vehicle the high levels of artificial intelligence required for the car to think for itself and plan the route it should take, on any surface.”

So, safer … perhaps. But not nearly as fun.

And we still want to see how the AI handles hitting a villainous patch of black ice.