Industry trends

2 min

NG Future Vision | Road Blocked. Automated off-road route available

Automated off-road technologies could unshackle connected vehicles from V2X infrastructure, freeing them to explore the great unknown


23 Oct, 2019

October’s six-word short story explores future automated off-road location-based services. In a future of automated vehicles, will we be limited by co-operative intelligent transport networks, with vehicles bound to V2X infrastructure and designated routes? Or will future vehicles be truly automated and free to explore beyond the tarmac?

Automated off-road technology could see cars swap the tarmac for the dirt track

When we dream about automated vehicles, we think of fully autonomous cars, perhaps managed by an AI, that can drive us anywhere we wish. The current reality is something different. Modern trends in automated vehicles are looking to co-operative intelligent transportation systems (cITS) to bridge the gap between science fiction and fact.

Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity technologies are being utilized to connect transportation infrastructure to vehicles and vice-versa. But what does this mean for the fully autonomous vehicles we read about? Well if the trend continues, we might see geo-fenced areas – specifically highways and urban centers – become the main focus of vehicle automation. Vehicles could be monitored and controlled from centralized hubs. There is the potential for free-roaming autonomous vehicles, although these could be limited to certain areas and campuses – to satisfy legal and safety restrictions.

Does this mean the dream of being driven off into the setting sun is out of reach for automated vehicles?


“Road blocked. Automated off-road route available”

In this month’s six-word short story, the passenger’s journey has been interrupted by a fallen tree which is blocking the way. The navigation has calculated two possible options for the vehicle. It can take a diversion following the main road – which will add considerable time to the journey – or it could choose an off-road short-cut which has a greatly reduced duration.

While these kinds of technologies are yet to make it into the mainstream – and skirt the borders of science fiction – they’re not so far from science fact. Automated off-road technology could soon become a reality for high-end vehicles, with enhanced terrain classification and physical motion simulation being combined with high fidelity traversability maps to provide a unique navigation experience.

These technologies have many applications, and we may only see them used in an industrial context at first. But as automated vehicles hit the mainstream and thrill-seekers, drivers, and passengers – especially those in remote and rural locations – find a need for such vehicles, OEMs will want to consider how they can take the appeal of their autonomous vehicles further afield.

NNG’s experts are at the forefront of research and development in navigation technologies. If you would like to find out more about our navigation solutions or talk about our off-road technology please contact us here.

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