Nissan has unveiled a self-driving car, known as the IDS Concept, that is designed to compliment a driver’s ability behind the wheel ─ as opposed to taking over completely.
The Nissan IDS Concept showcases the Japanese manufacturer’s thinking when it comes to its Intelligent Driving autonomous technology, which it plans to implement in ‘multiple vehicles’ by 2020.
The car itself is a four-seater hatchback with a lightweight carbon fibre body. Its 1.38-metre height and 175-size tyres keep air and road resistance to a minimum, helping the all-electric powertrain and 60kWh battery travel long distances between charges, so says Nissan.
The IDS Concept is more than just a look at me product for its self-driving cars of the future. Nissan has set ‘zero fatalities and zero emissions’ as aspirational targets in a bid to help ‘create a sustainable car-based society’.
It plans to do this by alleviating the biggest safety issue (you, the driver), as Nissan knows the vast majority of traffic accidents are caused by human error.
Nissan Intelligent Driving will let the driver take the reins in the ‘Manual Drive’ mode, but it will intervene if your imperfect human brain reacts too slowly to a hazard or starts to focus for too long on that rather attractive pedestrian you are currently driving past.
Select the full-autonomous ‘Piloted Drive’ mode and the car ‘imitates the driver’s own style and preferences’ so it acts more like you, even though it is doing all the work. It is hoped this will help inspire confidence in motorists who are unsure about letting a machine take over.
Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn said: “Nissan’s forthcoming technologies will revolutionise the relationship between car and driver, and future mobility.”
“Nissan Intelligent Driving improves a driver’s ability to see, think and react. It compensates for human error, which causes more than 90 percent of all car accidents. As a result, time spent behind the wheel is safer, cleaner, more efficient and more fun.”
The IDS Concept has other clever tricks up its sleeves. For instance, it will park and charge itself so there’s no need to wait around while you look for an empty space at your local NCP. These features can be operated by a smartphone or tablet.
It also has an LED on the side of the car called the ‘Intention Indicator’ and is named so because it is designed to shine red when a pedestrian or cyclist is near, indicating the car is aware of their presence.
There’s also an electronic display that can flash messages such as “after you” to let pedestrians know it’s safe to walk.
Inside, the car continues to try and make autonomous driving more tempting with seats that rotate slightly inward to encourage conversation like in a living room. Meanwhile the steering wheel is more akin to horse riding reins to make controlling it seem more natural.
Nissan knows one of the biggest hurdles in bringing autonomous technologies to the mainstream is persuading drivers it’s a good idea and that it need not be the end of driving for fun. Whether or not the IDS Concept will have any effect remains to be seen, but it does sound impressive.
The Nissan IDS Concept was unveiled at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. Check out the pictures below.