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Nissan Starts Testing Self-Driving Car Prototype In Japan, Taking Its Revolutionary 'Piloted Drive' On The Road

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Nissan joins the platoon of carmakers that test AI piloted driving abilities on urban roads, as well as highways.

The company announced its commitment to two aspects of sustainable traffic environment: Zero Fatality and Zero Emission. While Zero Fatality aims to ensure that virtually everyone survives a car accident, regardless of its severity, Zero Emission takes its purpose of eliminating all CO2 emissions from Nissan vehicles very seriously.

In order to cater to the lives of drivers, passengers and pedestrians, the Zero Fatality program will get help from the advanced systems dubbed Vehicle Intelligence. For the VI to become fully operational, Nissan Intelligent Driving will be installed on all vehicles, in a number of stages.

"We at Nissan are setting clear goals and preparing for the implementation of piloted drive," Takao Asami, senior vice president of Nissan, says.

The first of these stages is Piloted Drive 1.0, which the car manufacturer says will be in traffic until the end of 2016.

The first goal of Piloted Drive 1.0 is to permit autonomous driving in crowded highway traffic. Nissan stated that an upgrade is in the works and it will allow cars equipped with Piloted Drive 1.0 to auto-shift from lane to lane on highways. The highway navigation system should be implemented on all smart vehicles by 2018. For drivers who stick to the city streets, Nissan is keen on delivering a technology that can handle intersections autonomously, by 2020.

Nissan Intelligent Driving will be installed on a prototype vehicle and tests are scheduled for highways as well as urban areas. The prototype is a development of the Nissan LEAF electric car, and has high-end technology features such as laser scanners, cameras, advanced Human Machine Interface, ultra-fast computer chips and millimeter wave radar.

Piloted drive is smoothly put into practice thanks to two novel technologies from Nissan. First, there is the high-spec scanner that uses lasers to precisely estimate the distance between the car and its surroundings. This allows for quick maneuvers in tight spaces to happen safely.

The second technology is a camera system that covers a 360-degree angle around the vehicle. The system instantly evaluates intersections and sharp winding roads in order to take the safest and most efficient route to the destination.

The on-board AI takes many concerns out of the driver's hands, but he still has to type the destination into the GPS. The program will begin in Japan, but overseas markets will get it as soon as possible.

"Nissan aspires for a safe and trouble-free motoring future, and we plan on leading the industry in the implementation of piloted drive," Asami added.

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