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Nissan LEAF with semi-autonomous driver assistance systems cleared for public road testing in Japan; moving to Autonomous Drive

The LEAF with semi-autonomous ADAS. Click to enlarge.

Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn took delivery of Japan’s first license plate for a car equipped with semi-autonomous advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). It clears the way for a Nissan LEAF equipped with the technology to be tested on the public roads in Japan for the first time. The research program will accelerate the development of technologies fundamental to Autonomous Drive (AD).

The systems are designed to allow the driver to manually take over control at any time. The license plate includes the number 2020, which reflects Nissan's goal to be ready with multiple, commercially-viable Autonomous Drive vehicles by the year 2020. (Earlier post.)

The Nissan LEAF to be tested is capable of a number of functions, including:

  • Lane keeping
  • Automatic Exit
  • Automatic lane change
  • Automatic overtaking slower or stopped vehicles
  • Automatic deceleration behind congestion on freeways
  • Automatic stopping at red lights

Nissan is developing Autonomous Drive as it works to achieve virtually zero fatalities in accidents involving its vehicles. The goal stands alongside zero emissions as a key pillar of Nissan’s research and development.

Autonomous Drive is an extension of the Nissan Safety Shield, which monitors a 360-degree view around vehicles for risks, gives warnings to the driver, and automatically intervenes if necessary. Work is already underway to build a dedicated Autonomous Drive proving ground in Nissan's facility in Oppama, Japan.

Showcasing AD at CEATEC. Nissan will showcase its Autonomous Drive technology at CEATEC JAPAN 2013—the first time that Nissan’s new Autonomous Drive (AD) system will be demonstrated to the general public.

The annual CEATEC exhibition, Japan’s largest IT and electronics exhibition, will be held at the Makuhari Messe convention center outside Tokyo from 1-5 October.

The Autonomous Drive system was revealed for the first time globally to journalists and investors at “Nissan 360,” the company’s brand and product event for global media and stakeholders held last month in Irvine, California.

The Nissan exhibit area at CEATEC JAPAN 2013 will feature a special driving course complete with virtual representation of roads typically found in Japan’s cities. Also, a live Autonomous Drive demonstration that focuses on artificial intelligence (AI) will be showcased.

At Nissan 360 in California, the company’s engineers demonstrated two vehicles – one equipped with systems for highway driving, the other for city streets – as they work towards combining the technologies into a commercially-viable Autonomous Drive car by 2020.

A Nissan LEAF, equipped with Autonomous Drive technology developed for city streets, will be used in the live driving demonstration at CEATEC due to limited space in the exhibition hall. The car has five laser scanners and five cameras that monitor every angle surrounding it—a full 360 degrees. When approaching another vehicle, the artificial intelligence predicts the other vehicle’s movements and selects the most appropriate driving action in response.

The AD driving demonstration will show how the artificial intelligence embedded in Autonomous Drive predicts another vehicle’s movement by having a driver operate another car alongside the Nissan LEAF that is equipped with Autonomous Drive simulate various potentially-risky situations, such as intersections without traffic lights or overtaking a parked car.



Speaking as an ancient, great stuff, as it will keep me mobile when still more bits have fallen off!


What you really want is a car which can drive you when you are very old, drunk or asleep (or all 3 at once).

Up to that, it is just showing off.
You want a car that has a license to drive by itself, without a competent adult in it.

The problem is that if you try to obey all the rules of the road, you may end up completely stuck.

An idea of mine, is that, in this case, the car calls in a human driver over a wireless network and this guy (or gal) can drive you out of a sticky situation, or decide to call the AA or cops.

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