Ahead of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018, presenting partner Jaguar Land Rover invited wounded, injured and sick warriors to experience a self-driving Range Rover Sport on some of the UK’s most complicated roads.
Team UK Captain Mark ‘Dot’ Perkins and Italian team member Simone Careddu joined former competitors Jamie Weller and JJ Chalmers to ride in the level 4 autonomous SUV on public roads in Milton Keynes.
The self-driving vehicle successfully navigated roundabouts, traffic lights, speeds of up to 80km/h, junctions and lane changes. These innovations, developed as part of the UK Autodrive Consortium, address technical challenges posed by urban environments including pedestrians, cyclists, security and infrastructure.
The competitors’ feedback will help Jaguar Land Rover understand how autonomous technology could improve the lives of millions of people living with limited mobility. Removing mobility barriers that exist today could enable extraordinary people to achieve extraordinary things – embodying the spirit of the Invictus Games.
Speaking on the technology, Mark ‘Dot’ Perkins said: “Technology has moved on so much, I already feel prehistoric. As my children grow up it will seem extraordinary to them that people used to physically drive cars.”
Jamie Weller, veteran Royal Navy aircraft engineer, who suffered a visual impairment in the course of his military career, said: “It was a great opportunity to experience the new technology Jaguar Land Rover is developing. It’s exciting to be discussing cars that could be used by visually impaired people. The technology has so many positive benefits for anyone living with a disability.”
A statement by the media office of Jaguar Land Rover South Africa said that the automaker is working hard to understand perceptions and acceptance of self-driving vehicles and how to harness those findings to create experiences that improve customers’ lives.
It quoted Jim O’Donoghue, Jaguar Land Rover Autonomous Research Engineer as saying, “It’s been fantastic to spend time with the Invictus Games competitors, gaining open and honest feedback from people who truly understand what it’s like to have the freedom of driving taken away, whether temporarily or permanently.
“The competitors’ insight has been invaluable. We are already working with industry; academia and government to bring self-driving cars to the roads within the next 10 years, with the ambition of zero accidents, zero emissions and zero congestion for future generations. To add zero mobility barriers to this list would be a huge achievement and something we are striving for.”
The Invictus Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women. The fourth Invictus Games will take place in Sydney from 20-27 October, 2018.
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