Nissan Motor Company Ltd says that its new, next-generation electric car Leaf will be equipped with ProPilot driver-assist technology allowing single-lane self-driving. The auto will appear later this year and is considered by the automaker to be the next step to fully-autonomous transportation system implementation. The automaker first disclosed its plans at CES earlier in January 2017, testing its ProPilot system installed on fully-electric Leaf.
In its ad, the automaker claims that the electric Leaf’s ProPilot system will facilitate the following controls: single-lane steering, braking, and acceleration. It looks like this ProPilot system version will be on par with driver-assist systems currently utilized by other car manufacturing bellwethers – Tesla, Cadillac, and Audi among them. Nissan also promises to eventually increase autonomy levels to make its cars navigate in close city conditions including crossroads.
Though this kind of limited autonomy is not yet fully self-driving systems, carmakers envision that this technological solution will facilitate developing driverless cars in the future not so far away. The whole batch of equipment can be utilized on board the completely autonomous vehicles. Besides, all the data, collected by sensors installed on the cars, can help improve the future controlling software. To make this plan come true, Nissan and Mobileye, a software developer specializing in autonomous driving systems, have partnered in the effort.
The company also has intentions to found its own ride-sharing service employing its fleet of self-driving cars in cooperation with Renault. The new enterprise will emerge during 10 years from now. But up until then, Nissan has much to achieve in perfecting its vehicles. The next generation electric Leaf is expected to cover at least 200 miles per charge what is more than 90 miles longer than the current version. The manufacturing giant aims at deploying self-driving technology stage by stage to present completely autonomous vehicles by 2023. As of this moment, it remains unknown whether the company is going to limit its driverless cars exclusively to ride-sharing services or release them on the market to the general public.
The next generation vehicle prototypes have already been spotted on roads for the last few months. A fully-fledged production is starting in September and by the end of the year, deliveries on the market are expected.