Nissan starts on-road tests for piloted drive
To fulfil its vision of putting autonomous vehicles on public roads by 2020, Nissan has started on-road testing of its first prototype vehicle that demonstrates piloted drive on both highways and city/urban roads of Japan. The prototype vehicle, based on the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle, will be tested in actual traffic conditions on both the highway and city roads to develop and further enhance Nissan Intelligent Driving for public use. The car is equipped with features such as millimeter wave radar, laser scanners, cameras, high-speed computer chips, and a specialized HMI (Human Machine Interface).
To make the piloted drive on city roads possible, Nissan is making use of two technologies - a miniature, high-spec laser scanner and an 8-way 360-degree view camera system. The laser scanner calculates the distance between the vehicle and its surroundings through the use of precise three-dimensional measurement that enables the vehicle to navigate routes in tight spaces. The camera system aids in accurate routing decisions when driving through intersections and sharp curving roads.
"We at Nissan are setting clear goals and preparing for the implementation of piloted drive. 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," Senior Vice President of Nissan, Takao Asami, said.
For Stage One, Nissan has planned to offer "Piloted Drive 1.0" by the end of 2016 in Japan, for autonomous driving under heavy highway traffic conditions. By 2018, the company hopes to implement a multiple lane piloted drive that can conduct lane changes on highways. And by 2020, a new technology will be introduced that allows vehicles to successfully manage city/urban roads- including intersections- autonomously.