Nissan has made no secret of its autonomous vehicle ambitions, long touting 2020 as the year its production cars would start to take the controls. At the centre of this is the company's ProPILOT technology, which it has just put to the test on public roads in Japan.
While the complete ProPILOT experience will allow for full autonomy, stripped back versions have begun to appear in certain Nissan models in the meantime. In July last year, for example, the company announced the Serena minivan would become the first Japanese vehicle with autonomous drive, with ProPILOT handling the steering, braking and throttle on the highway. And just last week, Nissan announced it would be bringing ProPilot Assist to its best-selling model, the Rogue.
The version demonstrated in Tokyo today relies on artificial intelligence to digest data taken from 12 sonars, 12 cameras, nine millimeter-wave radars, six laser scanners and a high-definition map. This apparently allows the car, in this case an Infiniti Q50 sedan, to run autonomously on both urban roads and freeways, carrying the driver to their destination un-aided once they punch the address into their navigation device.
"Ingenuity is at the heart of everything we do at Nissan," said Takao Asami, Nissan's senior vice president in charge of research and advanced engineering. "Our next-generation ProPILOT prototype showcases technology that will be available for real-world use from 2020. Today's demonstration is another example of our successful work toward creating an autonomous driving future for all."