Nis­san in­tro­duces driver­less tow­ing sys­tem

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

DUBAI: Nis­san Mo­tor Co, Ltd has an­nounced the in­tro­duc­tion of In­tel­li­gent Ve­hi­cle Tow­ing (IVT), a fully au­to­mated ve­hi­cle tow­ing sys­tem, at its Op­pama Plant.

Nis­san has worked on mak­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween peo­ple, cars and so­ci­ety more ex­cit­ing un­der its In­tel­li­gent Mo­bil­ity vi­sion, a frame­work for how cars will be driven, pow­ered, and in­te­grated into so­ci­ety. This new project, which uti­lizes map­ping and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies to link an in­tel­li­gent and all-elec­tric car to in­fras­truc­ture, is a step to­wards the re­al­iza­tion of Nis­san In­tel­li­gent In­te­gra­tion.

About the tech­nol­ogy

The IVT sys­tem uses a mod­i­fied Nis­san LEAF to au­tonomously tow trol­lies car­ry­ing fin­ished ve­hi­cles be­tween des­ig­nated load­ing and un­load­ing points at the plant.

Un­like con­ven­tional au­to­matic guided ve­hi­cle sys­tems for trans­port­ing parts, which of­ten re­quire the in­stal­la­tion of rails or ex­ten­sive use of mag­netic tape, this sys­tem does not need any spe­cial in­fras­truc­ture to op­er­ate. The tow­ing car is equipped with an ar­ray of cam­eras and laser scan­ners that de­tect lane mark­ings, curbs and po­ten­tial ob­sta­cles or haz­ards around the ve­hi­cle. By cross-ref­er­enc­ing this in­for­ma­tion with map data, the tow­ing car cal­cu­lates its own lo­ca­tion, ne­go­ti­at­ing the route to its des­ti­na­tion un­aided. The tow­ing car trav­els within the speed lim­its of the fac­tory, and au­to­mat­i­cally stops if it de­tects an ob­sta­cle or haz­ard ahead, be­fore set­ting off again when it has de­ter­mined that the road ahead is clear. The tow­ing route can eas­ily be al­tered to ac­com­mo­date changes in pro­duc­tion pro­cesses or ve­hi­cle trans­port routes. All driver­less tow­ing cars are con­nected to a cen­tral traf­fic con­trol sys­tem, which can mon­i­tor the lo­ca­tion, driv­ing speed, re­main­ing bat­tery and op­er­a­tional sta­tus of each ve­hi­cle. When two driver­less tow­ing cars meet at an in­ter­sec­tion, the con­trol sys­tem’s al­go­rithm de­ter­mines which car should be given right-of-way, and in case of emer­gency, the sys­tem can stop the ve­hi­cles re­motely.

Back­ground of devel­op­ment

The Op­pama Plant’s ex­ist­ing lo­gis­tics sys­tem re­quires fin­ished ve­hi­cles to be trans­ported from the end of the pro­duc­tion line to the fa­cil­ity’s ded­i­cated wharf by a team of driv­ers, at which point they are loaded onto ships. In­tro­duc­ing IVT will al­low Nis­san to im­prove pro­duc­tion ef­fi­ciency.

Since trial op­er­a­tions of the sys­tem be­gan roughly a year ago, more than 1,600 test runs have been car­ried out at the plant. The data ac­quired has been uti­lized to en­sure that the sys­tem can op­er­ate re­li­ably within the plant’s premises. A safety sys­tem and a fail-safe sys­tem have been de­vel­oped to counter po­ten­tial risks or un­ex­pected con­di­tions the IVT sys­tem may face dur­ing au­ton­o­mous driv­ing, in­clud­ing ad­verse weather and low light con­di­tions. Nis­san will con­tinue to test the sys­tem at its Op­pama Plant, and will ex­am­ine the pos­si­bil­ity of im­ple­men­ta­tion at other man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties both in and out­side Ja­pan.

Nis­san has been de­vel­op­ing au­ton­o­mous driv­ing tech­nol­ogy for decades. In Au­gust, the com­pany launched ProPILOT, an award-win­ning sin­gle-lane au­ton­o­mous driv­ing tech­nol­ogy for high­way use. IVT fur­ther show­cases Nis­san’s holis­tic ap­proach to mo­bil­ity, ex­pand­ing the ad­van­tages of driver­less tech­nolo­gies be­yond per­sonal us­age.

The data and know-how ob­tained through this project will help to en­able broader adop­tion of au­ton­o­mous driv­ing tech­nol­ogy, in or­der to pro­vide new so­lu­tions to our cus­tomers, and to our so­ci­ety.

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