The future of driving appears like it won't involve much driving at all. We've already seen a number of autonomous vehicle technologies from companies like Google, Audi and GM. The NSC-2015 is a new concept from Nissan that packages some autonomous capabilities into a Leaf EV.
"The distance between appliance companies and electricity management and the automotive industry is closing more and more," says Nissan COO Toshiyuki Shiga.
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Shiga's words explain why automakers have had an increasing presence at Japan's CEATEC Show, a show dedicated to electronics and IT. Toyota showed the Smart INSECT at last week's show, and Nissan brought the NSC-2015.
"With 90 percent of accidents caused by human error, we aimed to make a machine that could reduce error to as close to zero as possible and prevent an accident before it happens," explains Toru Futami, Nissan's expert leader for IT & ITS development. "Another objective was to reduce time-loss, such as that spent on looking for parking. That can be about ten minutes lost door-to-door, when all you need to do is get to the entrance."
The NSC-2015 provides a start to those goals, leveraging self-driving capabilities to become a personal valet. Without ever having to take a single dollar out of your wallet, the car drops you off at the door, parks for you and picks you up when you're ready to leave. The technology, which Nissan calls Automated Valet Parking, is controlled via a smartphone app, so it's easy for the "driver" to schedule a pick-up.
The NSC-2015 also has a next-generation anti-theft system. The interactive system uses cameras to monitor the car while it's parked. If there is suspicious activity – say someone casing the car or attempting to open the door – it can alert the driver via phone and send video of the activity. The driver can then set off the alarm and take other measures to secure the vehicle (e.g. call the police).
As its name suggests, the NSC-2015's technology will be ready within two years, according to Nissan. Of course, the legal and structural obstacles are sure to limit what Nissan can actually offer on the market, but perhaps the anti-theft feature will find its way into Nissan's production line.
The video below shows some of the NSC-2015's hardware in action, as well as a closer look at the Toyota Smart INSECT.