Next step for au­tonomous ve­hi­cles

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Mo­tor News Re­porter

Car mak­ers are all chas­ing the dream of the fully self-driv­ing ve­hi­cle. Cur­rently there are a few leg­is­la­tion is­sues in the way as well as more than one ques­tion when it comes to eth­i­cal matters but the car com­pa­nies are de­ter­mined to be ready when the green light is given for a proper au­tonomous fu­ture.

The lat­est com­pany to show­case its au­tonomous tech­nol­ogy is Nissan, which re­cently tri­alled an au­tonomous pro­to­type in Lon­don.

It is the first time that Nissan has demon­strated its lat­est au­tonomous drive tech­nol­ogy on pub­lic roads in Europe. The com­pany has al­ready con­ducted pub­lic-road test­ing in Ja­pan and the US to pur­sue easy-to-use au­tonomous drive tech­nol­ogy in real life sit­u­a­tions.

The tech­nol­ogy con­sists of mil­lime­tre wave radar, laser scan­ners, cam­eras, high-speed com­puter chips and a spe­cialised Hu­man Ma­chine In­ter­face, just to name a few. All of this helps al­low the ve­hi­cle, in this case a Nissan Leaf EV, to op­er­ate in an au­tonomous man­ner on both high­way and cityur­ban roads once the des­ti­na­tion points are en­tered into the nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem.

“In­no­va­tion and in­ge­nu­ity is at the heart of the Nissan brand and its peo­ple,” says Takao Asami, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent, re­search and ad­vanced en­gi­neer­ing at Nissan.

“This test of Nissan’s forth­com­ing au­tonomous drive tech- nol­ogy in the de­mand­ing con­di­tions of Lon­don streets un­der­lines our com­mit­ment to de­liv­er­ing Nissan In­tel­li­gent Mo­bil­ity to our cus­tomers.”

The test fol­lows re­cent an­nounce­ments that both the upcoming facelifted Nissan Qashqai and the new Leaf will be equipped with ProPilot au­tonomous drive tech­nol­ogy to en­able sin­gle lane au­tonomous driv­ing on high­ways. A mul­ti­lane au­tonomous driv­ing tech­nol­ogy will en­able au­to­matic lane changes on high­ways and is planned for in­tro­duc­tion in 2018 while au­tonomous driv­ing on ur­ban roads and in in­ter­sec­tions is planned for launch in 2020.

Nissan In­tel­li­gent Mo­bil­ity rep­re­sents three core ar­eas that the com­pany says it is look­ing at. The first is In­tel­li­gent Driv­ing, which helps to give cus­tomers more con­fi­dence through en­hanced safety, con­trol and com­fort. The build­ing blocks for au­tonomous driv­ing are al­ready built into many cars with ad­vanced safety fea­tures in­clud­ing sur­round mon­i­tor­ing and lane-keep­ing as­sis­tance.

The com­pany’s In­tel­li­gent Power aims to make driv­ing more ex­cit­ing by con­tin­u­ing to re­duce emis­sions and in­crease fuel econ­omy. Nissan says it is com­mit­ted to a holis­tic ap­proach to achiev­ing ze­roe­mis­sion mo­bil­ity by making in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gines more ef­fi­cient and putting more ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies into its EVs. In ad­di­tion to its EVs, th­ese tech­nolo­gies in­clude e-Power (se­ries-hy­brid) and fuel cell elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

Nissan says its In­tel­li­gent In­te­gra­tion strat­egy keeps cus­tomers more con­nected by link­ing its cars to the wider so­ci­ety, help­ing to shape a sus­tain­able ecosys­tem en­abling cars to in­ter­act with peo­ple, other cars and road in­fra­struc­ture. This will lead to re­mote ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tion, re­duced traf­fic jams, more ef­fi­cient car-shar­ing and im­proved en­ergy man­age­ment.


Takao Asami, se­nior vi­cepres­i­dent re­search and ad­vanced en­gi­neer­ing at Nissan, lets the car do the driv­ing in Lon­don.

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