At the mention of autonomous driving, what may come to mind is the idea of traveling from point A to point B without the need to touch the steering wheel, while perhaps enjoying a cup of coffee, flipping through yourtablet or even sleeping.
Such sci-fi-sounding scene is not thatfar-fetched from reality. Developments in technology are continuously changing our lives,and the auto industry continues to innovate and adopt new technologies.
Today's vehicles are set apart from vehicles of even 20 years ago by the extensive electronic information technology that is found in them. Ongoing technological advancements continue bringing"life"to vehicles,while boosting safety and convenience to an unprecedented level.
Technologies for Safety
We can see where autonomous driving may be headed when we look at some of the automotive innovations available now that are enhancing vehicle safety.
Nissan's Safety Shield is a perfect example: it is a manifestation of an extensive application of artificial intelligence.This approach divides the collision process into six stages – from before a risk occurs to after collision. The technology base on this approach allows the vehicle to take the most appropriate action for the most probable risk during each stage so as to minimize bodily harm.
To illustrate, when a collision appears imminent, a vehicle with Safety Shield technologies will warn the drivers using audio cues and other alerts. But when collision is unavoidable, the system will take action to mitigate injuries, such as automatic braking. Safety Shield also protects proactively from "behind the scene." As an example, when the car appears to be off course due to driver's lack of attention, the vehicle will automatically take control and put itself back on course.
What can the cars do themselves?
If Safety Shield is an"invisible guardian angel, "then autonomous driving will liberate our hands from the steering wheel. However, hands free driving is not the sole objective for Nissan and other companies that are making substantial input into autonomous drive technologies. With the ultimate goal of zero fatalities,Nissan has garnered multiple breakthroughs in autonomous driving, with some of this new technology already integrated into Nissan vehicles.
Autonomous driving technology manages the vehicle based on road condition data collected by monitoring around the vehicle 360 degrees.This data is collected from six laser scanners fitted around the vehicle, and it's fed to the vehicle's onboard computer which is running a powerful database.
Sensing area of autonomous drive in city
Thus, Nissan's Autonomous Driving System has the capability to independently make correct judgments and take corresponding actions depending on real-time road conditions. This has the potential to transform how we drive.
For example, it is difficult to avoid cars in motion while entering a roadway from a ramp, but an autonomous driving vehicle can monitor the movements of all vehicles around, including those in any blind spot. If needed,the system can then take necessary avoidance action.
Likewise, it is very dangerous to judge distance and speed of vehicles from the opposite direction when a driver is passing a vehicle and crossing over the opposite lane. The split-second judgment of the driver would usually determine whether a crash would occur or not.However, vehicles fitted with Nissan's
Autonomous Driving System will be able to determine the possibility of dangers even when they are not within sight of the naked eye, and give way to opposing traffic before overtaking.
Autonomous drive sensing area – highway driving and parking
The risk of severe collisions decreases when a vehicle runs at intermediate and low speed, which often means that it is facing an even more challenging road condition.
Nissan's Autonomous Driving System is capable to autonomously identify road signs and then act correctly, and make frequent,timely and accurate judgments for any complicated road condition and then maneuver appropriately. Even when there is no road sign, the system still can enable the vehicle to avoid other converging vehicles according to generally accepted trafficrules.
Intersection entry and turning with oncoming traffic monitor
Most people probably have experienced this situation: you're driving your car normally, and, all of a sudden,a random pedestrian pops out from between parked cars along the road. This requires that you immediately react to avoid hitting the pedestrian.
In this sort of a situation, Nissan's Autonomous Driving System can surpass even the most skilled driver in both responsiveness and precision, therefore significantly minimizing the possibility of a severe accident.
Autonomous Emergency Steer
While improving safety, autonomous driving also can enhance driving convenience. How many times have you spent more time trying to find a parking space than doing your actual shopping at the supermarket?
With autonomous drive, a driver can just stop the car at the parking entrance to a shopping destination, and the system will guide the car to aparking space. At the same time, the system will allow the vehicle to avoid any converging traffic until it's safely maneuvered into the parking space.
After shopping, the driver need only press a button on the remote control and wait for the car to fetch him/her, saving the driver the trouble of locating the car while carrying bags of groceries.
Remote Automatic Parking
The Era of Autonomous Driving Silently Arrives
Nissan Autonomous Driving will prove that driver-free technology is no longer the stuff of sci-fi.
With the successful real-world showing in 2013, Nissan plans to achieve commercialization of autonomous driving by 2020, which means the technology will be competitively priced to meet customer needs in less than 10 years.
Ongoing investments in autonomous driving technology will enable Nissan to take a lead in the future automotive market and help meet changing social needs in motoring.
With EVs and other new products, Nissan's goal for making Zero Emission vehicles a reality is happening.
As well, the Zero Fatality goal is closer to becoming a reality, thanks to Nissan's Autonomous Driving System.