Nissan has built an autonomous driving system called ProPILOT, which is a self-driving featured designed to be used in a single-lane highway system and will be used on Japanese roads in August of this year.
ProPILOT will be integrated with the Nissan Serena first in August. In a press release, Nissan stated that ProPILOT controls steering, acceleration, and braking, and is designed to be used in heavy traffic and slow speeds, and long commutes, its also only for use in single-lanes.
ProPILOT can automatically manage the distance between cars, travel between speeds from 18 mph to 60 mph, and using a monocular 360-degree camera system, made by Mobileye, the car can watch for lane markers, other vehicles, and keep itself within a lane.
ProPILOT can also stop the car if any vehicles in front stop. Nissan states that the brakes remain engaged even if the driver doesn’t have their foot on the brake pedal. The driver then must accelerate the car themselves or turn on self-driving to being moving. The feature can also detect if the drivers hands are not on the steering wheel and can send warnings.
Nissan is working on more functionality for ProPILOT. The company has plans to release lane switching in 2018 and city driving in 2020.
Nissan is taken a careful approach to self-driving. There are many scenarios that are not accounted for when trying to make a vehicle completely autonomous, such as with the Tesla Autopilot incidents. It appears that Nissan wants to tap into an early market and gradually increase functionality.
Nissan says it has tested ProPILOT in Japan and in the U.S. and the is aiming for a European debut in 2017 as well as in the U.S and China, though there are no definitive timelines for the U.S and China releases.