The new tech is being designed to make it easier to navigate tricky off-road terrain.
The new 2020 Land Rover Defender is one of the most technically impressive off-roaders yet, but it could get even more advanced in the future. According to Autocar, Land Rover is working on a new remote control system that will allow the owner to drive the Defender remotely at low speeds from outside the SUV. It sounds a lot like Tesla's self-driving Summon technology but designed for off-roading, allowing owners to navigate tricky terrain with a lot more precision.
Chief product engineer Stuart Frith confirmed the Defender is "capable of being able to do that in terms of its architecture." Frith added the automaker understands how to implement the remote control tech and has already run prototypes using the technology.
The technology will be an extension of the Defender's 3D Scout system, which provides a virtual image of the car from a distance. For security, it would also require the car's wearable Activity Key to verify the driver is nearby and in control of the car.
The new Defender is already extremely capable off-road thanks to its independent suspension, smart tech, and improved visibility through cameras and sensors, but Frith believes this is no substitute for checking surroundings from outside the car. "If you're in a tight spot and you're on your own, you can still get out of the car and 'spot it' yourself," he said.
Of course, Land Rover still needs to overcome some legislation hurdles before the technology can be given the green light. Land Rover is also considering allowing owners to live-stream journey footage to the cloud using the Defender's EVA 2.0 electrical architecture and Online Pack.
Starting at $49,900, the Land Rover Defender 110 is available with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 gasoline engine developing 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque or a 3.0-liter turbo inline-4 paired with an 48-volt electric supercharger that produces 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. A smaller Defender 90 variant will join the lineup at a later date.