Nissan has introduced the ProPilot autonomous driving technology which is designed for highway use in single-lane traffic. The said tech, featured in the latest Serena, has the ability to automatically take over the steering, acceleration, and braking for drivers in highway traffic.
The Japanese automaker claims that the ProPilot tech will ease the driver’s workload especially in heavy traffic and long commutes. It uses a front-facing camera that recognizes vehicles and lane markings through an advanced-image processing software.
Other components of the ProPILOT include an electronic control module (ECM) for the throttle, an electric power steering (EPS) for automated steering control, and a brake controller for automated braking. There’s also an electric parking brake to prevent the car from moving when on a full stop. All these are controlled by the Advanced Driver Assistance System Electronic Engine Control Unit (ADAS ECU).
To activate the system, Nissan fitted a switch on the steering wheel, allowing the driver to easily activate and deactivate the ProPilot. When engaged, the ProPilot automatically controls the distance between the vehicle and the preceding vehicle, using a speed preset by the driver (between approximately 30 km/h and 100 km/h). Nissan adds that the system keeps the car in the middle of the lane by reading lane markers and controlling the steering, even through curves.
If in case the vehicle in front stops, the ProPilot reacts accordingly and applies the brakes, thus preventing a frontal collision. Of note, the car will remain still, even if the driver lets off the brake pedal. To resume driving, the driver needs to press the ProPILOT switch on again or lightly step on the accelerator pedal.
As mentioned earlier, the ProPilot technology only applies to highway driving conditions. But Nissan is currently studying how to make the ProPilot work on other driving conditions like busy city roads. This is vital as they’ll soon introduce ProPilot to Europe in 2017 and to the US and China in the near future.
On top of that, Nissan will also enhance the ProPilot system with a multi-lane highway traffic feature in 2018.
Here’s a quick video showing the Nissan ProPILOT autonomous driving technology at work.