Land Rover develops technology that allows a driver to control their vehicle remotely, via a smart phone.

Imagine this: you’re running errands in your Range Rover, and you return to the car to find someone has parked so close there’s no room for you to get in. No sweat! Whip out your smart phone and back the car out remotely!

It sounds like sci-fi, but it’s one real-world use of new tech that Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) calls a “driver-focussed” approach to enhancing the driving experience.

Other possible uses of remote control functionality include off-roading–a driver unsure whether his or her Rangie will clear this rock or has a steep enough approach angle to climb that slope can stop, hop out, and be their own rock-crawling spotter–and in tight three-point turn situations where the driver is unsure they have enough room to get the car turned around. A multi-point-turn function will use sensors to maneuver the car through 180 degrees to get it pointed in the opposite direction.

JLR also suggests this tech could be used to allow autonomous parking, like the system Mercedes-Benz is working on.

There will be no high-speed joyriding, however. JLR says the system is being engineered to work at short range, meaning the driver–with the key fob–has to be within about three metres of the car, and remote driving functions will only operate up to speeds of about 6 km/h.

It’s cool-sounding stuff, but would take the fun out of driving: off-roading is slow-going, but if you’ve ever traversed serious terrain in a capable truck, you know the thrill of being behind the wheel, relying on your spotter to help you find the safest path. That said, from a purely technological point of view, this is cool stuff. Press play on the video below to see the system at work.

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