Self-driving Nissan car drives like your granny

3 November 2015
By Jack Loughran
Mobile version
Share |
Nissan hopes its driverless technology will be fully rolled out to commercial vehicles in 2020

Nissan hopes its driverless technology will be fully rolled out to commercial vehicles in 2020

Nissan has begun demonstrations of its self-driving vehicle, with many of the first drivers noting the system’s cautious driving style.

The Japanese car company’s ‘intelligent driving’ feature allows drivers to hand over full control to the vehicle without needing to use the steering wheel, the accelerator pedal or brakes.

The car uses in-built radars, lasers, cameras and computer chips to ensure safety and route efficiency. It is capable of navigating junctions without lane markers and braking safely to a stop in dangerous situations.

Reporters testing the new vehicle in Tokyo were given a half-hour ride in the prototype on a scenic, pre-programmed course on Tokyo roads, which included stopping at traffic lights, making turns, changing lanes and crossing a bridge across the bay.

Many were critical of its performance for being painstakingly careful. The vehicle always stayed within the speed limit and slowed down during complicated situations, such as cars coming from another lane, so that it had time to determine the most appropriate course of action.

Nissan is planning to release the autonomous vehicles for sale in 2020 although abbreviated versions of the technology will be introduced from next year, such as keeping a safe distance from the car in front on congested roads.

The new technology is reportedly unable to deal with unexpected situations, such as moving to the side of the road if an ambulance approaches.

On one test ride, the human driver had to intervene because the car did not properly recognise a lane that was drawn obscurely.

Nissan’s general manager Tetsuya Iijima admitted the system needed fine-tuning, but was confident that it would deliver better safety than human drivers overall, citing research which showed that 90 per cent of traffic accidents are caused by driver error.

"It's like a kid, we need to make it understand the world - the severe world,” he said.

Jeremy Carlson, senior analyst at IHS Automotive and an expert on autonomous driving, praised Nissan for having "a clear road map" for the technology it was working on.

"Nissan's plans to successively deploy piloted drive technologies keep the automaker at or near the leading edge of the industry in driver assistance technology, both in Japan and worldwide," he said.

Last month, Tesla began upgrading its model S series through an over-the-air update to allow it to drive automatically on highways. Some early videos uploaded by users showed the car exhibiting dangerous behaviours.

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1605

"We visit Barcelona, one of the smartest cities in the world, to find out what makes it so special. What does it look like and what is the future?"

E&T jobs

  • Senior Development Engineer, Electronics

    Premium job

    Helmet Integrated Systems / Gentex Corporation
    • Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire
    • Competitive

    We are an innovative, robust and fast growing business, whose main focus is to deliver continues improvement to existing products and offer new sol..

    • Recruiter: Helmet Integrated Systems / Gentex Corporation

    Apply for this job

  • Smart Grid Research Engineer

    Premium job

    University of Strathclyde
    • Cumbernauld, Glasgow
    • Grade: 6/7* £26,537 - £37,768*

    Work as part of a growing dynamic team on a wide range of technical projects with particular emphasis on experimental validation and testing

    • Recruiter: University of Strathclyde

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Asset Specialist

    Affinity Water
    • Hatfield, Hertfordshire

    Responsible for updating and writing electrical engineering standards, approved codes of practice and safe systems of work

    • Recruiter: Affinity Water

    Apply for this job

  • Senior Electronics Engineer

    York Instruments
    • York, North Yorkshire

    Senior electronics engineer to work as part of a team developing an MEG imaging system; working with the engineering team and external contractors.

    • Recruiter: York Instruments

    Apply for this job

  • Manufacturing Engineer - Circuit Card Assembly

    • Lostock Junction
    • Competitive Salary & Benefits

    What’s the opportunity?   Manufacturing UK is an integral part of the Operations Directorate whose principal mission is to ensure that MBDA’s deliverable commitments are met...

    • Recruiter: MBDA

    Apply for this job

  • High Voltage Engineer

    Premium job

    Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment
    • Great Dunmow, Essex

    This High Voltage Engineer will provide design leadership for high voltage cable assemblies up to one megavolt.

    • Recruiter: Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment

    Apply for this job

  • Team Leader - Flank Arrays

    BAE Systems
    • Barrow-In-Furness, Cumbria, England
    • Negotiable

    Team Leader - Flank Arrays Would you like to work in a unique role within the construction of the Astute Class submarines? We currently have a vacancy for a Team Leader - Flank Arrays at our site in Barrow-in-Furness. As a Team Leader - Flank Arrays, you

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Electronics and Software Engineer

    Copley Scientific Ltd
    • Nottingham
    • circa £35,000 per annum + bonus

    Develop new test equipment for the pharmaceutical industry. Good opportunities to grow and develop. Successful family-owned and managed business.

    • Recruiter: Copley Scientific Ltd

    Apply for this job

  • Intelligent Transport Systems Engineer - Highways Technology

    Premium job

    Mott MacDonald
    • Birmingham, West Midlands

    Our transport technology team in Birmingham is currently growing a highly skilled and customer-focused team to...

    • Recruiter: Mott MacDonald

    Apply for this job

  • Analogue Electronics Engineer

    Premium job

    Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF)
    • Uppsala (Stad) (SE)

    The Swedish Institute of Space Institute (IRF) in Uppsala search for an analogue electronics engineer.

    • Recruiter: Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF)

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶


Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T