Nissan Unveils Self-Driving Car with 500km Range
The 2015 Tokyo Motor Show is bursting with much of the excitement coming from Nissan. This year, the company brought along a new-to-the-world concept — the Nissan IDS. As Nissan aspires to live in a world with zero emissions, going way back to when it first introduced the LEAF, you can imagine this hot ride is electric — and it is. The IDS is the next iteraction of the mainstream consumer vehicle.
It is the first of what Nissan hopes would be many vehicles equipped with new technology by the year 2020.
Presenting at the show, Nissan Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn shared an excerpt about the company’s vision for the future of personal mobility.
Ghosn boasted that Nissan’s forthcoming technologies will revolutionise the relationship between car and driver, and future mobility.
“A key point behind the Nissan IDS Concept is communication,” design director Mitsunori Morita said in a statement.
“For autonomous drive to become reality, as a society we have to consider not only communication between car and driver, but also between cars and people,” Morita said.
The electric vehicle is fitted with a 60 kWh battery, and sports a low stance for better aerodynamics, allowing it to drive long distances on a single charge. Plus, sync the car with your smartphone to take advantage of Piloted Park and wireless charging technologies.
The sleek automobile comes in two modes: Manual Drive or Piloted Drive (PD).
This allows one to choose whether or not they feel like driving, are able to drive, or just want to relax… as needed. While PD is fully automated, safety features while in manual mode were also highlighted, indicating that the car maintains awareness and the ability to intervene even when in manual mode. This continues an exciting trend of leveraging autopilot features to improve safety. The more manufacturers start integrating these intelligent driving features into their cars, the better, as that will drive faster improvements in the technology, lower costs, and ultimately, safer roads for all.
Another feature that is more on the fun side of things is that the car appears to have a personality that it uses to relate to the driver, passengers, and even pedestrians on the street, sending messages via its dash-mounted, scrolling, LED screen.
This car really wants to be your friend and could most accurately be described as the personality of Jarvis from Iron Man, Siri on those i-devices, or Cortana (for the four people out there with windows phones).
Manual puts the driver in control of what looks like a game console accessory. But one is not alone: the car’s sensors continually monitor conditions, and offer assistance if necessary. The IDS Concept’s built-in also communicates with the motorist, highlighting traffic conditions and the day’s schedule.
Push the glowing blue Nissan button in the middle of the wheel to switch into Piloted Drive, relinquishing responsibility to the smart vehicle, which imitates the driver’s style and preferences.
The result of the automation and technology that is been rolled into the IDS is a seamless, quiet experience that makes life better. Feel like driving? Go ahead! Want to take a nap? Drop your seat back for a quick power nap — I ‘ll drive! Want to get some work done? Feel free to use the huge dash display to get it on! Want to talk and actually look at the person next to you? Done.
The concept video is chalk full of features and even seems to have a super-splendulous windscreen and very thin a-pillars to further accentuate the viewing angles and maximise the panoramic views for the driver. Further accentuating the different driving modes, the car’s interior physically adapts to changes with the steering wheel moving in and out of the way, the centre console moving around, and the seats being released to swivel a little when in autopilot/PD mode. It seems like this would make driving more social, though the majority of driving in the United States takes place with only one person in the car, making it difficult to be social regardless of the context.
All of this cool tech is wrapped in a very sporty exterior that looks like a cross between the diminutive Lexus CT200h with it’s short but sporty stance and the Chevy Bolt concept with it’s full glass ceiling and futuristic lighting enclosures.
A similar car is in the works at Mercedes. But Nissan also just showed off its Teatro for Dayz concept, a pint-sized electric car with an interior that can project different scenes based on mood, weather, or “vibe of the day.” When parked, the Teatro’s seats, headrests, door trim, and instrument panel can be turned into a moving screen.