We recently covered the body and chassis on the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L, the newly revealed seven-seater Grand Cherokee.
But the vehicle from Stellantis — the OEM formed out of the merger of Peugeot and FCA — contains or will contain some other notable technology, particularly on the advanced driver assistance system front.
Perhaps most notable among these features will be what FCA in its pre-merger Jan. 7 news release called “Hands-free Active Driving Assist.” The OEM said it would start selling the tech late this year on the 2022 Grand Cherokee L.
Under such SAE Level 2 autonomy, a vehicle can control its speed and steering, but the driver is required to actively supervise and be ready to take control. Some systems permit the driver to take their hands off the wheel during this process.
Detroit rival General Motors kicked off competition in this technology with its Super Cruise, and Ford recently said it would make its own “Active Drive Assist” available as an unlock on 2021 F-150s later this year.
Now, it’s Jeep’s turn once the 2022 Grand Cherokee L debuts.
“It offers hands-free driving at all speeds and lane centering on approved roadways for even greater driving convenience,” Jeep wrote earlier this month. “The system also will predictively slow the vehicle down in tight curves and automatically resume control after the driver overrides and verifies that he or she is paying attention to the road.”
However, Jeep said the 2021 Grand Cherokee L will offer a “Active Driving Assist” system standard on Summit trims and as an option on Overland trims. This represents another piece of Level 2 autonomy, though this one will require the driver to keep their hands on the wheel.
“The Grand Cherokee L is available with Active Driving Assist for hands-on-wheel and eyes-on-road automated driving using lane-centering with adaptive cruise control,” Jeep wrote. “The system uses multiple sensors, including radars and cameras to dictate appropriate roads for the technology.”
Such technology would seem to put an even heightened responsibility on the collision repairer to fix the vehicle properly using OEM procedures. As humans outsource more of the driving task to their vehicles, it’ll be imperative that those vehicles work as the OEM and human trust it will.
Other ADAS, convenience tech
Both the Summit and Overland trims will also offer a Night Vision Camera option. According to Jeep, infrared sensors on the vehicle search for the heat given off by pedestrians and animals up to 219 yards away. This could cut into some repairers’ deer season business.
“When located, an alert with their positions relative to the vehicle are outlined in the instrument cluster directly in front of the driver,” Jeep wrote.
Cross-traffic autobraking will also appear standard on the Summit trim. The technology relies upon four radar sensors and one camera to look for threats approaching the vehicle perpendicularly at an intersection.
Parallel and perpendicular parking assist will also come standard on the Summit. According to Jeep, this one relies on ultrasonic sensors. “FCA is the first automaker to use this technology with a live, dedicated view on the infotainment screen for easy viewing,” the OEM said. (Jeep issued the press release pre-merger.)
Jeep will also offer the optional capability to toggle the Grand Cherokee L rearview mirror between a standard view and a digital view using a 9.2-inch LCD screen and a rear-facing camera. This will be a first for a production Jeep model, according to the OEM.
Drivers can also purchase a Jeep-first full-color head-up display on the Overland or higher trims. Jeep described the feature as projecting information (speed, navigation, etc.) on up to a 10-inch area on the windshield.
“The all-new 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L offers more than 110 safety and security features, including innovative applications of technologies that refine the connection between driver, vehicle and the road,” Jeep wrote.
“… The Grand Cherokee L arrives with a class-leading suite of features that deliver on the promise of driving confidence, for which the Jeep brand is renowned. These features enhance a driver’s field of vision, help make instrumentation easier to see and enable driver-assist capabilities that accommodate collision avoidance.”
Other camera and sensor details of note:
• Keep an eye out for an optional “rear-seat monitoring camera system” during disassembly. The technology lets Mom and Dad in the front seats see what the kids in the back are up to. One can see both the entire cabin or individual seats.
“The camera is positioned on the headliner between the second- and third-row seats,” Jeep wrote. “Three infrared lights surround the camera and illuminate the cabin in low-light conditions. The system automatically switches between day and night modes for added visibility and convenience.”
• The front and rear cameras within the Surround View Camera system (standard on the Summit trim, optional on the Overland and Limited setups) are able to be cleaned with washers on the vehicle.
• The Grand Cherokee L’s front fascia “conceals an all-new, long-range radar component.”
Repairers will also note the Grand Cherokee L’s lighting.
“For the first time, a premium, full suite of LED lighting is standard on all Jeep Grand Cherokee trim levels, which allowed for design flexibility and helped to shape the identity of the vehicle,” Jeep wrote. Approach-lit door handles and rearview mirror puddle lighting also come standard on the Summit and Overland trims.
The inside of the vehicle comes standard with a “full suite of all-new customizable interior LED lighting with daytime/nighttime settings.” The Overland and Summit trims carry an even fancier lighting setup standard.
“True ambient lighting with a five-color selection, an FCA first, casts an inviting glow along the entire instrument panel, as well as the front and rear doors,” Jeep wrote.
And speaking of the vehicle interior, Jeep moved some vents from the ceiling to the pillars — yet another first.
“For the first time in an FCA vehicle, the second- and third-row vents, now wider and slimmer, are placed in the pillars, as opposed to overhead, to better target passenger comfort zones without compromising headroom or visibility,” Jeep wrote.
Jeep, Jan. 7, 2020
The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve offers optional Night Vision. (Provided by Jeep)
The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve offers standard hands-on, eyes-on Level 2 Active Driving Assist ADAS. The Jeep will be able to drive itself — but the human must always touch the wheel, supervise the effort and be ready to take over. (Provided by Jeep)
The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland will offer an optional cabin monitoring feature for drivers. (Provided by Jeep)
The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve model will come standard with a five-color selection of front row ambient lighting. (Provided by Jeep)