Autonomous cars may soon be able to drive off road thanks to new technology being developed by Jaguar Land Rover.

JLR’s Head of Research, Tony Harper, said: “We don’t want to limit future highly automated and fully autonomous technologies to tarmac. When the driver turns off the road, we want this support and assistance to continue.”

Information is gathered from an array of cameras, radar and LIDAR. These give the car a 360 degree view of its environment.

The sensors are so advanced they can determine the surface characteristics down to the width of a tyre, even in rain or snow. The terrain response settings in the car would be automatically changed by this technology and in good time as the car can see 5 meters ahead of itself.

Communication between vehicles is also being tested. This allows cars to share information between them and will enable a “proper convoy”.