Jaguar Land Rover has demonstrated new research technology that could potentially allow autonomous vehicles to drive themselves off-road. The new multi-million pound research project was set up in order to try and make autonomous cars as practical as possible, by allowing them to operate effectively in a range of real-life driving environments. Tony Harper, head of research at Jaguar Land Rover, said: 'Our all-terrain autonomy research isn't just about the car driving itself on a motorway or in extreme off-road situations. It's about helping both the driven and autonomous car make their way safely through any terrain or driving situation. '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. In the future, if you enjoy the benefits of autonomous lane keeping on a motorway at the start of your journey, we want to ensure you can use this all the way to your destination, even if this is via a rough track or gravel road. 'So whether it's a road under construction with cones and a contraflow, a snow-covered road in the mountains or a muddy forest track, this advanced capability would be available to both the driver AND the autonomous car, with the driver able to let the car take control if they were unsure how best to tackle an obstacle or hazard ahead. We are already world-leaders in all-terrain technologies: these research projects will extend that lead still further.î The scientists and researchers at Jaguar Land Rover are making use of next-generation sensing technology in order to give the cars the ability to sense potential danger faster than a human driver. The sensors used are always active and could give the vehicle level of artificial intelligence that would allow it think for itself and plan routes on any surface. This technology combines camera, ultrasonic, radar and LIDAR sensors, and allows the car to have a 360Á view of the world around. It's believed that the sensors are advanced enough to even detect surface characteristics, allowing it to take into account factors like the width of a tyre when driving in rain or snow. 'The key enabler for autonomous driving on any terrain is to give the car the ability to sense and predict the 3D path it is going to drive through,î added Harper. 'This means being able to scan and analyse both the surface to be driven on, as well as any hazards above and to the sides of the path ahead. This might include car park barriers, tree roots and boulders or overhanging branches, as well as the materials and topography to be driven on.î Ultrasonic sensors can scan up to five metres ahead of the car, giving it the opportunity to change its terrain response settings before it drives onto a new surface. This would be ideal in driving from grass to tarmac, or from snow onto concrete.