Published: Sat, January 07, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jose Becker

Nissan shows how driving will become a desk job

Nissan shows how driving will become a desk job

The main subject of Ghosn's keynote was upcoming autonomous and connected auto technology, but Ghosn mentioned that the next Nissan Leaf would be fitted with Propilot technology - an autonomous system by Nissan which allows full autonomy on single-lane roads.

Once the vehicle is connected, the "mobility manager" will analyze the situation before using the car's sensors and cameras to map out the correct course of action. After it clears the accident zone, the auto resumes full autonomous mode.

There are cores that the CEO had spoken about and one of which is the SAM or Seamless Autonomous Mobility which has been designed in order to address autonomous vehicle reactions to unpredictable circumstances.

SAM is based on NASA's Visual Environment for Remote Virtual Exploration (VERVE) software, which works in a similar way. It definitely is. But Nissan's plan makes it clear that the company intends to go whole-hog into autonomous vehicle development. It was used to visualize and supervise interplanetary autonomous robots to navigate obstacles.

This is where Nissan's SAM technology comes in. "What we are doing at Nissan is finding a way so that we can have this future transportation system, not in 20 years or more, but now". Melissa Cefkin, principal researcher and design anthropologist at Nissan's research center lab in Silicon Valley, tells media.

To that end, Nissan's IDS concept vehicle from the 2015 Tokyo auto show has a color spectrum "intention indicator", that when solid blue signals autonomous mode.

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As such, it will complement Nissan's camera-based ProPilot autonomous driving technology that will soon be on the next gen Nissan LEAF electric auto models. The Japanese carmaker has put a timeline to its plans, and confirmed the MkII Leaf - due in the next year or two - will get semi-autonomous functionality as standard.

According to former NASA's scientist and now director of Nissan Research Center, Maarten Sierhuis, he aimed to change the transportation infrastructure of today.

Nissan will bring this technology to other models, including the Qashqai in Europe, in fiscal 2017. A potential approach is having tiers of battery range comprising the Leaf lineup, with more expensive cars featuring a more capacious battery pack.

The new Nissan Leaf is expected to replace the current auto (above) at a date that the brand will not now reveal - industry sources suggest that 2018 is likely.

Nissan has also given a preview of some of the next-generation Leaf's onboard technology.

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