Following in the footsteps of BMW, Land Rover has introduced an experimental Range Rover Sport that can be controlled wirelessly using a purpose-designed smartphone application.
The application allows the driver to control the brakes, the accelerator and the steering and to change from high to low range. It only works at speeds of up to about 4 mph, and the driver needs to remain within 10 yards of the vehicle.
Land Rover explains the remote-controlled technology has the potential to make driving a lot safer and noticeably less stressful both on and off the beaten path. If a Land Rover owner gets stuck off-road he or she can step out of the SUV and use the application to quickly maneuver out of a challenging situation. This all but eliminates the need for a spotter, making it easier for enthusiasts to go off-roading by themselves.
And the remote-controlled technology helps owners navigate the urban jungle as well, by making it that much easier for them to park in tight spaces, or back out of a spot when a neighboring car has parked too close.
The remote-controlled Range Rover Sport has yet another trick up its sleeve. It is fitted with a long list of sensors, cameras and lasers that allow it to autonomously perform a 180-degree turn, making as many forward and backward movements as necessary. This feature comes in handy when trying to maneuver out of a dead-end or out of a tight parking garage.
When we can expect to see remote-controlled Land Rovers hit the streets is up in the air. However, BMW will launch a remote-controlled 7 Series this fall, so life-sized RC cars could be a lot closer than we think.
The technology that makes remote-controlled driving possible is sourced from Jaguar via Land Rover’s Solo Car project. Still in the very early stages of development, the Solo Car is an autonomous car that’s capable of driving itself even when there are no lane markings, such as during heavy snow storms or in the middle of the desert.