Autonomy is accelerating
With electric vehicles a strong focus at Jaguar, the company has been hiring engineers to work on the software driving modern cars.
Jaguar is accepting more than 1000 graduate engineers each year, with the vast majority dedicated to software engineering. This push is directly associated with autonomy, and the upcoming demand for cars capable of communicating with critical infrastructure.
Vehicle line director, Ian Hoban, told journalists in Geneva this technology will be key to future success for Jaguar.
"Very definitely. Autonomy is coming and Tesla have been a disruptor in the world of battery electric vehicles, and very much the same with autonomy," Hoban told the assembled media.
"There's a huge amount of software capability that we have grown over the past few years, but that's just one aspect of autonomy."
When asked how far Jaguar is from having a fully autonomous car, Hoban argues it's much sooner than we might expect.
"Not far at all. I'm not going to put a number on it, but legislation I think will, initially at least, will cause all of us to expand our skillset.
"Consumer demand will be a more positive pull than legislation because of the obvious challenges moving forward. The capability will exceed the legislative requirements. As we look to a future generation it will become a hygiene factor."
The Jaguar I-Pace launches without level three autonomy, putting it behind cars like the Audi A8 and, likely, its upcoming E-Tron stablemate. Whether other luxury brands follow Audi's lead with self-driving smarts remains to be seen.
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