Nissan concept pickup truck uses onboard drone to help with remote rescues

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Nissan's all-new Navara EnGuard Concept

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You really hope to never have to hit the red-lettered "SOS" button on a DeLorme inReach Explorer, but if you do, a message you'd love to receive from responders is, "on the way ... in the Nissan Navara EnGuard." Revealed at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hannover, Germany, the flashy concept pickup is designed for rescue in the world's most remote, extreme environments. It includes an onboard drone and a portable power supply derived from Nissan Leaf battery tech.

This year's IAA Commercial Vehicles Show has proven to be a big destination for new vehicle concepts, almost (but not quite) giving its sibling show IAA Frankfurt (Frankfurt Motor Show) a run for its money. We've seen interesting concept vehicles like the Mercedes Urban eTruck, VW e-Crafter, Hyundai H350 Fuel Cell Concept, and now, the Navara EnGuard.

Based on the Navara Double Cab Tekna model, the EnGuard joins the show's concept ranks as an extreme, all-terrain emergency truck designed for off-road, off-grid rescue and operations. It's an even more rugged answer to the Navara-DNAed 2015 Renault Alaskan concept and is the type of vehicle you might hope to see if your Base 4x4 breaks down in murderous terra incognita.

The Nickelodeon-green highlights and off-road upgrades are what catch the eye, but the real centerpiece of the EnGuard design is the integrated power system. Nissan has wrapped Nissan Leaf-based battery cells inside weatherproof aluminum, creating two 2 kW power blocks for keeping equipment running in place of loud, emissions-spewing gas generators.

"Our prototype EV portable battery pack reveals how Nissan will integrate its world-renowned EV battery technology and expertise into new sectors in the future," says Philippe Guerin-Boutaud, Nissan's corporate vice president of light commercial vehicles.

Since the EnGuard is built around tasks that get done far from the grid, possibly for days on end, Nissan's battery packs get their charge via a vehicle-integrated system powered by the 187-hp 2.3-liter twin-turbo diesel engine. Each pack slides into a charging dock on one side of the pickup bed during travel.

Once in the field, the portable power packs can be used to power up rescue equipment, even in enclosed spaces such as buildings and caves, where gas generators would be a no-go. Each pack has five outlets, and outlets built into each side of the truck let the team plug in without having to drop the tailgate.

The other signature feature of the EnGuard is its onboard DJI Phantom 4 drone. With concept debuts like the 2014 Renault KWID, the 2016 Rinspeed Etos and the recent Mercedes Vision Van, the past two years have taught us that we need to get used to the idea of concept cars with integrated drones. And if that's the case, at least it's nice to see drone tech used for tasks more substantive than picking up flowers while you drive to your girlfriend's house.

The EnGuard's Phantom 4 is positioned at recon work in dangerous rescue environments. We imagine it flying over disaster areas and into structures, pulling imagery and sending it back to the team outside so they have a better idea of what they'll be confronting. The images can be viewed on the pop-up HD display built into the side of the pickup bed, and that flat cover on top the bed makes for a natural landing pad.

Nissan fills out the center of the bed area with dual sliding trays that keep rescue equipment organized and easily accessible. The deeper bottom tray stores an oxygen tank and resuscitation kit, life jackets and buoyancy aids, while the shallower top tray holds tools like two-way radios, rope and an axe.

The Navara is also enhanced with a 2-in (50 mm) lift and adjustable performance suspension system. The roof is fitted with a 360-degree LED lighting system that includes blue strobes. Matching strobes are integrated into the rugged fender flares, fog lamps and rear light clusters.

If you thought the aforementioned green highlights were only to grab attention, you'd be right, but it's not the attention of IAA visitors they're after. Nissan says the color was specifically chosen as the most visible color in daylight and most easily identifiable by those with color-blindness. The location on the wheels and side steps helps approaching drivers see the EnGuard in their headlights.

The base Double Cab Tekna trim brings with it some handy standard equipment of its own, including NissanConnect satellite navigation and Around View Mirror 360-degree camera system.

Take a look at the EnGuard in the video below:

Source: Nissan

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