Nissan has unveiled a world first in driver assistance technology, combining navigated highway driving with hands-off single-lane driving capabilities. Expanding on the award-winning ProPILOT system, the technology will debut on the Nissan Skyline (in the Japanese market) before the end of 2019.
Designed for on-ramp to off-ramp (ramp-to-ramp) highway driving, the new system engages with the car’s navigation system to help manoeuvre the car according to a predefined route on designated roadways. For the first time, the system also enables hands-off driving while cruising in a single lane.
To enable the latest functions of the new system, drivers must first set their destination in the navigation system, creating a predefined travel route. Once the car enters the highway, the new system’s navigated driving becomes available. Upon activation using a predefined route, the system will assist the driver with traveling on a multi-lane highway until reaching the highway exit on a predefined route — helping to handle passing, lane diversions and lane exiting.
The new ProPILOT also enables hands-off driving while cruising in a given lane. When the car approaches a road divide, or when passing a slower vehicle is possible, the system judges the appropriate timing of branching off or passing based on information from the navigation system and 360-degree sensing. Intuitive audio and visual guidance are given to the driver, who is prompted to put both hands on the steering wheel and confirm the start of these operations with a switch.
The system uses a combination of cameras, radars, sonars, GPS and 3D high-definition map data (HD map) to provide 360-degree, real-time information of the surrounding environment and the vehicle’s precise location on the road. With such comprehensive information available, it is possible to provide a smooth driving experience, similar to that produced by an experienced driver. A monitoring system in the cabin continually confirms that the driver’s attention is on the road.
The introduction of such systems in other countries will be highly dependent on local conditions and the road infrastructure. While Nissan can install the advanced technology, things such as road signs, and lane markings must be of a certain standard to enable the sensors to recognise them properly.