Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) produces the finest all-terrain vehicles in the world and this makes off-road capability a core attribute of the brand. Over the years JLR has retained its leadership position in this space with innovative off-road technologies such as Terrain Response (TR). But TR, introduced in 2004, has found its match in technologies introduced by the competition. The need was, therefore, felt for JLR to develop a new technology that would increase the competitive advantage of its models.
Data indicated that many JLR customers drive their vehicles off-road at least once per month on a range of terrains. Driving off-road places a significant workload on the driver, as it involves tasks such as selecting vehicle gear, obstacle recognition and avoidance, and planning the vehicle path. In JLR vehicles the tasks include selecting the appropriate TR special programme and changing the vehicle configuration by selecting the appropriate air suspension ride height (standard or off-road) and transfer box ratio (high or low range). According to available data, customers seldom use these special programmes and configurations. Such insights provided the inspiration for the Automatic Terrain Response (ATR) that was developed.
Sam Anker, Dan Dennehy, Dr Andrew Fairgrieve, Elliot Hemes and James Kelly developed the ATR system, a unique technology which significantly reduces driver workload during off-road driving by removing the need for the driver to recognise that a special programme or vehicle configuration needs to be changed.
The innovative technology uses sensor fusion and mathematical modelling techniques to determine terrain conditions. This information is used to automatically optimise the vehicle system settings for the terrain, by automatically selecting the optimum special programme for the conditions. And it aids vehicle configuration by advising the driver about which transfer box ratio and air suspension ride height to select.
The automatic programme selection allows drivers to make full use of the off-road capability of the vehicle more easily since they don’t need to manually configure the vehicle. Such a reduction in the driver’s workload is particularly beneficial to off-road drivers who are new to the game.
ATR offers JLR a significant feature enhancement over its competition, besides increasing the appeal of its products and protecting its market leadership in the off-road capability attribute.
This patented technology provides a revenue generation opportunity with a ‘surprise and delight’ feature that improves the product appeal, creates a unique selling proposition and counters the decrease in perceived value of the existing TR feature (caused by competitor advancements).
ATR also reaffirms JLR’s existing off-road feature set, increasing both the vehicle’s capabilities and the utilisation of those capabilities, while strengthening the brand’s market leadership position and improving customer satisfaction. Additionally, the technology has a green side to it, given that automatic and optimal configuration of the vehicle to prevailing conditions minimises the vehicle’s environmental impact.
As the technology is a patented JLR property, it has potential to generate further revenue through licensing. Being a flexible and adaptable technology, it can be used in other applications, such as the JaguarDrive Control system on Jaguar nameplates. It is also scalable and provides a low-cost route for further iterations of the TR feature set.
ATR will be introduced in forthcoming Land Rover models, beginning with the 13MY Range Rover in 2012 and the 14MY Range Rover Sport in 2013. The technology may then be rolled out on new and existing Jaguar and Land Rover products. Off-road driving with JLR, in the circumstances, is set to get smoother.
Jaguar Land Rover was one of 12 award winners at the Tata Innovista 2012, the annually held celebration of creativity in the Tata group. Read about the other winners and the innovations that brought them to centre stage >>