Nissan will introduce hands-free highway driving
Nissan is now touting truly hands-free driving as early as this autumn in its Japan home market. That's when the second-generation ProPilot system arrives.
Unveiled last week as ProPilot 2.0, the upgrade makes several advances over the current system, which has been sold in 350,000 vehicles worldwide since hitting the market in 2016.
The new system will switch lanes, pass other cars and help with lane exiting. The current system doesn't allow lane changing or take orders from the navigation system to drive itself to a chosen destination. And in the U.S., Nissan tacks the word "Assist" onto the ProPilot name so as not to engender a false sense of security in its limited abilities.
ProPilot 2.0 integrates a collection of seven cameras, five radar sensors and 12 sonar sensors. It tops the package off with a 3D high-definition navigation system.
The system has some small limitations: allows hands-off driving only when the vehicle stays in one lane. Japanese regulations require that the driver's hands be on the wheel when the car switches lanes. ProPilot 2.0 still changes lanes by itself, but the law requires human hand-holding, just in case. Works only on highways that have been mapped in high-definition 3D. It is this advanced digital mapping that allows the new system to position the car on a road with an ultraprecise margin of error of centimeters.
At least drivers still can't relax too much. The system uses a driver-monitoring system to make sure they are paying attention and ready to resume control in an emergency. So no napping or working during the journey.