JAGUAR Land Rover has unveiled a concept vehicle it says is a vision of the future for urban driving - and it looks nothing like a Jaguar or a Land Rover.
Called Project Vector it is the company's first fully automated electric vehicle and it will be on the road by the end of next year.
Smaller than the likes of a Ford Focus, the vehicle was shown as a four-seat battery powered transporter with glass sliding doors that can be used for a variety of purposes for moving people or even ‘last mile' deliveries.
It has been developed by JLR and the National Automotive Innovation Centre at Warwick University with the intention of collaborating with Coventry City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority to plan a mobility service from late 2021.
The Project Vector vehicle will be used as a living laboratory for future mobility on the streets of Coventry and according to the concept's chief engineer Professor Dr Gero Kempf is a blank canvas for developing smart city transport systems.
At the Project Vector launch held at the innovation centre, Professor Dr Kempf said the zero emission vehicle was ‘a concept platform designed and engineered around urban centric use cases by a major car maker as a blank canvas, for developing tailored services and apps in the ecosystem of a smart city."
For Jaguar Land Rover it is part of the company's Destination Zero plan to make societies safer and healthier and the environment cleaner with a focus on zero accidents and no congestion.
Professor Sir Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover chief executive officer, said: "Jaguar Land Rover understands the trends shaping modern societies. 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 Project Vector vehicle is a compact, flexible model which measures just four metres in length and is designed for the city, packaging all its battery and drivetrain components into a flat floor, to allow a variety of uses.
The cabin space allows seating configurations for private, or shared use and even the opportunity for commercial applications.
Although capable of driving itself, the Project Vector vehicle has a ‘conventional' driving layout with a steering wheel, an accelerator and brake pedal among its controls.
Dr Tim Leverton, the project's director, said: "The megatrends of urbanisation and digitalisation make connected urban mobility systems necessary and inevitable. Shared and private vehicles will share spaces with and be connected to public transit networks, so you can travel on demand and autonomously. That is a complex task, best achieved by working together with partners across the spectrum of vehicles, infrastructure and the digital world.
"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.
"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. Our vision shows the vehicle as a flexible part of the urban mobility network that can be adapted for different purposes."