Nissan Edges Closer to Autonomous Driving With ProPilot Assist
ProPilot Assist, which will be available to customers later this year, does not deliver a fully autonomous experience since it requires that the driver's hands remain on the steering wheel. But it does provide a highly advanced combination of semiautonomous features that can lessen driver fatigue.
The importance of becoming OEM certified to handle autonomous technology is top of mind for Scott Biggs, whose company, Assured Performance, just launched OEM Certification 2.0, which is designed to address many of the challenges and needs of the industry as we reach the next frontier in automotive technology and collision repair.
"The OE network isn’t even close to being large enough to handle volume of collision repair that exists today," Biggs said. "We have dealers and independents, and the key is they all have to be certified. They all have to meet same requrieemrents. They have to have the capability to repair advanced vehicles safely. There's no compromise anymore."
Many of the ProPilot system's capabilities, including adaptive cruise control and automatic braking, will be familiar to consumers who have shopped for a new car within the past few years. ProPilot Assist will integrate these features with an advanced lane keeping assist that's designed to "read" markings with cameras, radar and sensors to keep the vehicle centered in its lane, even on moderate curves.
Similar automatic systems are most often found on pricey vehicles from automakers such as Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. But Nissan's U.S. demo vehicle for ProPilot is the popular Rogue compact SUV, and the company says it plans to introduce the technology on the 2018 Nissan Leaf EV later this year. ProPilot will then be available on 10 models by 2020, making clear Nissan's intentions to forge ahead with autonomous vehicle development.
The system also applies the brakes automatically, either slowing the vehicle or bringing it to a complete stop when necessary. If traffic stops for more than 3 seconds, the driver either presses the resume button or taps the accelerator to get moving again. And if the driver grips the steering wheel too lightly, a warning system alerts him or her to apply more pressure on the wheel.
Nissan plans to continue development and expects the system to support multilane highways within two years and urban traffic within four years. This approach, while perhaps more cautious than that of some competitors, moves Nissan's technological advancement toward full self-driving capability.