Jaguar Land Rover has been moving into the electric vehicle arena with personal vehicles for a while, now it’s charging ahead for the long term with a new concept vehicle named Project Vector.
The shuttle-like vehicle is part of the company’s Destination Zero program, its vision of an autonomous, electric, connected future for urban mobility. The idea behind the ambitious effort is make “societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner.”
The vehicle bears a strong resemblance to a new vehicle recently introduced by General Motors and its autonomous vehicle subsidiary, Cruise. The vehicle, called Origin, also features sliding doors to make it easy to get in and out. The primary difference? Project Vector has driver controls whereas Origin does not – at least in concept form anyway.
The reason for the driver controls lies in JLR’s description of Project Vector’s capabilities, suggesting it’s “autonomy ready.” The goal of the overall project is to achieve zero emissions, accidents and congestion with its vehicles and services.
“Jaguar Land Rover understands the trends shaping modern societies,” said Ralf Speth, JLR chief executive officer. “Project Vector shows Jaguar Land Rover as a leader in innovation to make our societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner.
“Through this project, we are collaborating with the brightest minds in academia, supply chain and digital services, to create connected, integrated mobility systems – the fundamental building blocks for Destination Zero. Project Vector is precisely the brave and innovative leap forward needed to deliver on our mission.”
The vehicle concept is a little more than 13 feet in length and features a flexible interior. It’s designed for an urban environment with all its battery and drivetrain components laid out under a flat floor for maximum variety. The cabin space allows seating configurations for private, or shared use and even the opportunity for commercial applications, such as last-mile deliveries.autonomous
“With the technology and engineering power of Jaguar Land Rover, we can provide a unique opportunity for innovators to develop highly-functional urban mobility services, seamlessly integrated into everyday life,” said Tim Leverton, project director.
Future urban travel will be a composite of owned and shared vehicles, access to ride hailing and on-demand services as well as public transport, according to the company. JLR and GM aren’t the only vehicle producers with that kind of long-term vision. Several other companies, like Nuro and Navya, have already been testing or been cleared for testing.
JLR is working with the Coventry City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority where the company is located, to begin testing the shuttles soon with plans to run mobility service from late 2021, as a living laboratory for future mobility.