Jaguar Land Rover is the latest automaker to introduce an electric and autonomous shuttle pod designed for sharing in urban environments. Project Vector is just a concept, but the British automaker hopes to have a version of the vehicle for road testing by 2021.
The automaker is currently keeping most of its specifications under wraps. The vehicle is four meters long and has an engine and a battery built into a flat floor. However, JLR does not specify the size of the battery or the range of the vehicle. The interior can be adapted for private or shared use as well as for the delivery service on the last mile.
In contrast to the recently launched autonomous Cruise Origin shuttle from GM and Honda, the JLR concept has a driver's seat and traditional controls for human use. However, the vehicle is designed to meet future applications in which autonomous vehicles play a greater role.
The vehicle was developed at the National Automotive Innovation Center, a joint venture between the University of Warwick, JLR, and the parent company Tata Motor. JLR plans to work with local authorities in Coventry to plan a mobility service from late 2021
Self-driving shuttles are becoming more common as companies such as Optimus Ride, Navya and May Mobility operate small fleets in fixed fleets, routes in cities around the world. But it's also the kind of business that can be extremely difficult to get right. Drive.ai almost went out of business before it was bought by Apple. And Navya, a large autonomous shuttle manufacturer based in France, recently announced that it would turn away from the shuttle business to license its software to third-party customers.
JLR is no stranger to the autonomy of sharing. The company has entered into an agreement with Alphabet & # 39; s Waymo to purchase 20,000 Jaguar I-Paces for a fleet of self-driving taxis. At the time, they said that the new vehicles would officially become part of Waymo's commercial hail service from 2020. The company is already testing the new vehicle on public roads around its headquarters in Mountain View, California.
JLR is one of the automakers severely affected by the Corona virus outbreak in China. According to the Financial Times the company is reported to be flying components in suitcases out of the country to prevent its UK plants from being closed by the end of the month.