Jaguar XJ takes on top drone in ‘Cat and Mouse’ challenge

Mark Higgins, stunt driver in Hollywood blockbusters, explores how drones could change movie car chase filming.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 19 Mar 2016 Views icon4287 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

A Jaguar XJ driven by leading movie stunt driver Mark Higgins took on one of the world's best drone pilots in a unique 'cat-and-mouse' challenge that showcased how future technology could influence car chase filming. 

With one eye on a future potential movie stunt sequence, Higgins and drone pilot and racer JaeHong Li used the challenge to highlight how technology is developing in both the automotive and unmanned aircraft sectors. 

The development of advanced driver assistance systems with radar sensors and on board cameras is closely aligned to the development of technology in drones, which are now being used for everything from racing to autonomous parcel delivery. 

"Drones are becoming increasingly integrated into society and they can do some amazing things these days," said Higgins, who is also a champion rally driver. "So when Jaguar offered up the XJ and all its technology to go up against one of the world's top drone pilots, I jumped at the chance. 

"The Jaguar XJ is designed for the luxury executive market, but it is still a dynamic drive and very capable in all environments. So this was an exciting challenge to use it in. It was certainly up to the chase, and we found some fun ways to evade the drone!" 

The challenge, which took place at the Zhuhai International Circuit in China, saw Higgins trying to shake off the drone through an industrialised zone containing shipping containers, wide tree-lined boulevards, pit garages and an underground car park. The XJ demonstrated agility and control with effortless performance during the challenge. 

Technology is making waves in both the car and drone industries – with the drone pilot using autonomous circling and 360-degree camera searching and Higgins in the XJ, benefitting from electric power assisted steering that improves responsiveness and feedback as well systems that use sensors and four on board cameras. 

Drone pilot JaeHong Li said: "Flying against the car gave us some interesting insight into how this kind of technology can be used for filming cars – and I think we've shown there's some big potential for future movie car-chase sequences!" : "Technology in drones is developing fast, and like cars, the latest trend is for pilot assistance. The DJI Inspire 1 drone we used is more about precision and poise than outright pace. It has the best-in-class, stabilised Zenmuse X5 aerial camera aboard, as it is mainly used for filming, and was perfect for this challenge." 

Jaguar spokesperson, Ian Hoban, Vehicle Line Director said: "Technology plays a significant part in new Jaguar vehicles these days – from driver assistance systems to telematics and infotainment. This race was an entertaining way to showcase our current technology of 360-degree cameras and sensors on the XJ. 

"In everyday situations, cameras and vehicle sensors bring an added reassurance to the driver, making it easier to manoeuvre and park. Our new systems are all about enhancing the driver experience and making it more relaxing, enjoyable and safe." 

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