You know that bit in Knight Rider where Michael Knight uses his watch to call for Kitt, the talking Pontiac Trans Am? Well, Nissan has come up with one of its very own – minus the red scanner bar and David Hasselhoff's quiff.
At the CEATEC show in Tokyo, Nissan demonstrated a modified Nissan Leaf, known as the NSC-2015, that will drop you off, head away to find parking, then come back and get you when you've finished at the pub.
Although the demonstration kept the Knight Rider wannabe to a paltry 3mph, the NSC-2015 showed onlookers its ability to drive forward and backward a straight line, turn around 90 degree corners, follow road markings, stop at a pedestrian crossing and parallel park itself. Most impressive of all was the the fact the car could come scurrying over to a human, in this case a Nissan representative, when instructed to do so.
As if driving itself wasn't enough, the NSC-2015 can also alert you to suspicious behaviour occurring near your car via a smartphone, giving you the option to watch whoever is near your car using its exterior cameras. Perfect for alerting you to the presence of a traffic warden, then.
The NSC-2015 relies on robotics to control its steering, braking and switching between forward and reverse gears, while a mixture of sensors, computers, cameras and 4G high-speed mobile broadband wizardry helps the car keep abreast of where it should be on the road.
Predictably, the NSC-2015 is a long, long way from cruising the streets of the real world. Nissan has optimistically stated the technology could be ready for mainstream use as early as 2015 (hence the name) but the amount of time society will need before it accepts such vehicles cruising around without anyone at the helm is another matter entirely.
Still, it's a bloody cool concept. Bring it on, Nissan.