Nissan ProPILOT Assist Bringing Semi-Automation to U.S.

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Nissan ProPILOT Assist will be available in Nissan vehicles beginning later this year. After more than 50,000 miles of U.S.-based testing, the technology is ready for the public.

ProPILOT Assist is a semi-automation system that combines steering assistance with adaptive cruise control to allow for full automation during stop-and-go commuter situations. The driver’s hands must remain on the wheel, but the system is otherwise completely automated for slow highway/freeway traffic scenarios.

According to Nissan:

How ProPILOT Assist Works 
Tuned specifically for U.S. roads, ProPILOT Assist is designed to be more intuitive and user-friendly compared to other driver-assist technologies. It can potentially help lessen driver fatigue and create a more confident driving experience – especially for drivers who experience heavy highway traffic on a daily basis.

ProPILOT Assist uses a forward-facing camera, forward-facing radar, sensors and electronic control module to help the driver stay in the center of the driving lane and to maintain vehicle speed (set by the driver) or help maintain a gap to the preceding vehicle if the vehicle speed drops below the driver-set speed. It also can slow the vehicle to a complete stop and holds the vehicle during traffic jam conditions.

While providing steering assist, reducing the need for constant small steering adjustments, the driver’s hands must be on the steering wheel at all times. Hands-on detection is provided by the system’s steering torque sensor. If the driver only grips the steering system with a light touch, the warning system may activate, alerting the driver to apply more pressure or a tighter grip on the steering wheel.

Steering assist is cancelled in inclement weather if the windshield wipers are in the low or high position (if lane lines can be detected, the system can remain active when the wipers are in the intermittent mode or if the mist function is activated).

The driver’s input always takes priority, overriding the system when the steering wheel is turned or the turn signal is operated (steering assistance goes into a temporary standby mode). The system also goes into temporary standby mode when the accelerator pedal is pressed. And, the system’s Intelligent Cruise Control and lane keep assistance are both cancelled when the brakes are applied.

“ProPILOT Assist has the ability to track curving lanes, helping the driver stay centered in the lane as well as adjusting for various traffic flow conditions,” said Yamaguchi. “However, just as non-autonomous vehicles today, ProPILOT Assist requires the driver to remain engaged in the task of driving at all times – though the technology can reduce driver fatigue and increase driving enjoyment.”

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