Nissan's contribution to the self-driving future:
Nissan is a Japanese multinational automobile manufacturer headquartered in Nishi-ku, Yokohama. Since 1999, Nissan has been part of the Renault–Nissan Alliance, a partnership between Nissan and French automaker Renault. Nissan is the sixth largest automaker in the world and together with Renault they rank as number four.
Nissan has been an attention seeker in autonomous driving ever since its luxury subsidiary ‘Infiniti’ launched the famous Q50-model with Active Lane Control and highway Stop-and-Go functions, competing with the Tesla S. Now it is time for parent company Nissan to follow. It has been testing autonomous versions of its acclaimed Nissan Leaf model for some years and will launch semi-autonomous editions of the Qashqai and Serena in 2017. Both will be equipped with Nissan’s own self-driving system ProPilot. By 2020 the company plans to have its first Nissan self-driving car on the market, already showcasing its supreme targets in the Nissan IDS concept car.
Nissan Leaf autonomous testing
Under project name Safety Shield Nissan released some of the most advanced safety features available to car buyers in its models. The list includes Tire Pressure Monitoring, Smart Auto Headlights or the Advanced Air Bag System. Safety Shield also incorporates Nissan’s driver assistance systems like Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Brake Assist and Blind Spot Warning. These Safety Shield technologies are available in new models like the 2016 Sentra, 2016 Altima, 2016 Rogue, 2015 Murano, 2016 Pathfinder, and others.
In the fourth quarter of 2013 Nissan’s subsidiary Infinite released its Q50 model, being one of the first real semi-driverless vehicles on the market. The Q50 uses above mentioned features to combine automatic speed regulation on highways, with no need to touch the gas or brake pedals, with Active Lane Control, keeping the car in its lane, automatically adjusting for crosswinds and pavement. The Q50 had only revealed the tip of the iceberg.
At the same time of the Q50 launch Nissan announced its plans to present a Nissan self-driving car to the market by 2020. Fully autonomously. The in Asia immense popular electric Leaf model would become Nissan self-driving test vehicle, in cooperation with NASA. Today a handful of modified Leafs are demonstrating driverless foreground in Tokyo, Japan and California, USA. Japan’s government has been the most supportive and proactive in the world, and it was likely that would result in it being the first country where an autonomous car would be sold. According to Nissan the Japanese government has been the most supportive and proactive in the world in regards to self-driving, and that could likely result in Japan becoming the first country where an autonomous car would be sold.
Nissan will make 2 semi-driverless stops before reaching the fully driverless destination in 2020. In 2017 ProPilot 1.0 will be released, similar to the Infinite Q50 with automatic speed regulation and lane control on highways, but without automatic lane changing. This will be added in ProPilot 2.0 in 2018. The ability to penetrate inner-city roads will be added before the end of the decade.
Offbeat from what others are doing, Nissan will release ProPilot 1.0 as mass market, affordable cars, in two separate models simultaneously: an updated version of the Nissan Qashqai, the seven-seater crossover launched in 2008, will be released in the States and Europe (first release planned in the UK). Specifically for the Japanese home market, where the general speed limit is 60 mph and driving fast is nearly impossible, minivan Serena will be ProPilot equipped and re-launched.
The specs are impressive: a sourced single camera, mated to a Mobileye processor, scans the traffic in front of the car, handling objects as small as pedestrians, bikes and motorcycles. Trough high speed image processing, the system can generate 3D images without needing an expensive second lens. In addition ProPilot cars will includes four laser scanners, an 8-way 360 degrees camera, a ton of motion sensors and five radar units to handle high speed driving and stopping or automatic lane changing. The Leaf testing cars made use of pre-production flash Lidar sensors from Santa Barbara's Advanced Scientific Concepts Inc., which will hopefully be included too. Peculiar fact: when it comes time for a significant directional change, the system will call out its manoeuver over the speakers, just like a normal navigation system. Nissan believes that voice support like this could be a transitional step until people get used to the sensation of traveling in autonomous cars.
IDS concept car
In anticipation to 2020, Nissan gave a sneak preview in 2015 on what the first Nissan self-driving car could look like. The IDS concept car stands for Intelligent Driving System. Nissan’s future cars will be fully autonomous and, obviously, fully electric. Just like in the Mercedes F105, the interior of the IDS car resembles that of a ‘living room’, with seats that can face each other in autonomous mode, and a steering wheel that folds into the dashboard and is replaced by a digital screen, like Volvo’s concept design.
But Nissan has some original ideas too. Some extreme forms of vehicle-2-everything communication. What would you for example think about cars powering houses and street lights? Well, in cooperation with Foster + Partners, Nissan is using its Leaf test vehicles as individual "energy hubs" able to store, use or return clean energy to the grid. The Japanese car company is already trialling this technology in Geneva, Switzerland. Another brilliant idea are cars that drive straight into offices, where an automated parking system would transport the vehicle to charging bays within the buildings.