Nissan has begun testing its first prototype vehicle that demonstrates piloted drive on both highway and city/urban roads. Nissan maintains two corporate visions of a sustainable mobile society: “Zero Emission” and “Zero Fatality”.

The “Zero Emission” target represents the goal to eliminate the emission of CO2 gasses, while Zero Fatality is an aspirational goal that aims to eliminate virtually all fatalities stemming from traffic accidents.

“Vehicle Intelligence” will play a key role in realizing the concept of Zero Fatality. Therefore, the company is developing an advanced form of vehicle intelligence called “Nissan Intelligent Driving,” which is comprised of various innovative features that will be introduced in stages.

The prototype is based  on the Nissan LEAF EV (electric vehicle) and equipped with features such as; a millimeter wave radar, laser scanners, cameras, high-speed computer chips, and a specialized HMI (Human Machine Interface), just to name a few.

Nissan Piloted Drive Prototype Vehicle rear

For Stage One, Nissan will offer “Piloted Drive 1.0” by the end of 2016 in Japan. Piloted Drive 1.0 allows for autonomous driving under heavy highway traffic conditions. By 2018, the company hopes to implement a multiple lane piloted drive that can conduct lane changes on highways. And by 2020, a new technology will be introduced that allows vehicles to successfully manage city/urban roads, including intersections, autonomously.

The equipment and technology behinds the Prototype LEAF combine to allow the vehicle to operate in an autonomous manner on both highway and city/urban roads except for setting destination points into the navigation system. These tests are planned for Japan as well as selected countries in the near future. Nissan has developed two innovative technologies that will make piloted drive possible on city/urban roads: high-spec laser scanner and 8-way, 360-degree camera system. Positioned on the center console, this device conducts various functions, such as shifting between Manual Drive mode (normal drive mode) and Piloted Drive mode (autonomous drive mode), automatic lane changes and more. All the modes and vehicle data are monitored on the TFT LCD touchscreen.

The prototype LEAF EV possesses both of these innovative features, facilitating smooth transportation through complex traffic environments and helping occupants feel as though they are in the hands of a skilled driver.