Nissan has started testing its first prototype featuring piloted driving on highway and urban roads. Nissan has corporate visions of “Zero Emissions” and “Zero Fatality”. In order to achieve them, it is working on an advanced form of vehicle intelligence which it calls “Nissan Intelligent Driving,” and it will be offered in stages.
The first stage will be called “Piloted Drive 1.0” and will be offered in Japan by the end of 2016. This stage is expected to allow for autonomous driving under heavy highway traffic conditions which will be extended to multiple lane piloted driving capable of changing lanes on highways, by 2018. By 2020 however, a new technology is planned that will be able to manage city or urban traffic, including intersections autonomously.
The prototype vehicle that is currently in use is a Nissan Leaf equipped with millimeter wave radar, laser scanners, cameras, high-speed computer chips, and a specialized HMI (Human Machine Interface). This vehicle is used in actual traffic conditions and leaves nothing in the hands of the driver, except entering destination points into the navigation system.
There are two innovations onboard the prototype that make its piloted driving possible on urban roads. First of these is a miniature, high-spec laser scanner. This device determines distance between the vehicle and its surroundings by using precise three-dimensional measurement, thereby enabling navigation in tight spaces. The next is an 8-way, 360-degree view camera system allowing for accurate routing decisions when driving through intersections and sharp curving roads.
Senior vice president of Nissan, Takao Asami had this to say about the prototype, “The prototype that we’re introducing here today is proof of how close we are towards the realization of this goal. Nissan aspires for a safe and trouble-free motoring future, and we plan on leading the industry in the implementation of piloted drive.”