So far, Nissan has made great advancements in the field of autonomous driving by also introducing in series production a semi-driverless system – though it can only tackle single-lane roads for now.
But the company has already decided on the next step on the road to full autonomous driving, with the ProPilot technology coming by 2020 with advanced capabilities that will allow a seamless navigation of city intersections – without human aid. The ProPilot system is now capable of navigating a vehicle on roads with a single lane in each direction, and from 2018 Nissan says it will be capable of handling multi-lane freeways. “We’re trying to distill out of our work some key lessons for what an autonomous vehicle will need to know,” says Nissan researcher Melissa Cefkin. “What happens at a four-way stop – it’s open to a lot of interpretation.”
The ProPilot has been offered so far on a single model – Serena – and only at home in Japan. Just like Tesla’s Autopilot the ProPilot will handle driving in various scenarios, drivers can relinquish control between 30 km/h and 130 km/h (about 18 mph to 81 mph), keeping a safe distance from the car in front. The system can also stop the car autonomously according to traffic and will also steer the vehicle within its given lane. But it will also require at all times for the driver to keep the hands on the wheel – and the system will reach the 2017 Qashqai in Europe and other models in the US and China after that.