Nissan's Fully-Autonomous ProPilot System hits Tokyo's Streets

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【Summary】The Japanese automaker’s most advanced fully-self-driving system is planned to be released on 2020 and was recently tested on public roads in Tokyo.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Dec 11, 2017 8:45 AM PT
Nissan's Fully-Autonomous ProPilot System hits Tokyo's Streets

Every automaker is in the running to create autonomous vehicles, and while things seem awfully quiet for Japanese automotive companies, they, just like everyone else, are working on a system to take drivers out of the equation. Nissan's semi-autonomous system, which is known as ProPilot, has been seen on the new Leaf a few times. While we thought that the automaker's electric vehicle would be the first one in the United States to come with the piece of tech, it turns out that the 2018 Nissan Rogue will be the first car on our side of the ocean to have the system. 

What ProPilot's All About

Nissan's ProPilot Assist, according to the automaker, is capable of handling stop-and-go traffic, maintaining lane control, keeping a set speed, and preserving a set distance from a vehicle ahead during "single-lane" highway driving. While the system is available on the new Rogue, it will also come on the new Leaf. 

ProPilot Assist, is a semi-autonomous system that requires drivers to be alert behind the wheel of the car at all time. But that won't cut it in the future, as analysts predict that automobiles will be made without a steering wheel or pedals. Nissan, though, has an answer for that, as well, with a fully-autonomous version of the system. 

Fully Autonomous Nissans Coming Up

Earlier this month, Nissan, with the help of an INFINITI Q50 managed to show off its fully-autonomous system on Tokyo's streets. The prototype featured 12 cameras, nine millimeter-wave radars, six laser scanners, and a high-definition map. These items, along with some improvements to ProPilot Assist's software, allows the Q50 to "analyze complex scenarios in real time and navigate smoothly through challenging city conditions," claims Nissan. 

The vehicle, thanks to the new additions, can completely operate on its own across a city or even travel to a completely new location on the highway depending on the location the passengers put into the vehicle's navigation unit. Tricky road maneuvers, like crossing a busy intersection, isn't difficult for the prototype as the machine operates in a "human-like driving feel that gives passengers peace of mind." 

2020 Is The Magical Number

"Ingenuity is at the heart of everything we do at Nissan," said Takao Asami, Nissan's senior vice president in charge of research and advanced engineering. "Our next-generation ProPilot prototype showcases technology that will be available for real-world use from 2020. Today's demonstration is another example of our successful work towards creating an autonomous driving future for all." 

The system, which Nissan expects to put on the road by 2020, will have some competition to beat, as a lot of other automakers are planning to unveil their Level 5 capable vehicles at the same time, as well. Audi's self-driving A9 is apparently coming out in 2020, while Mercedes-Benz is aiming for the same date for its release of a fleet of driverless taxis. While not as good as some other systems on the road, the current iteration of ProPilot Assist does a fine job of making driving a less daunting task and should only get better as Nissan continues to work on the system. 

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