Nissan to offer navigated highway driving system from fall

Japan Economic Newswire |

Nissan Motor Co. said Thursday it will start offering from this fall a system that allows navigated highway driving and hands-off single-lane driving, in the automaker's latest push toward self-driving vehicles.

Nissan said its Skyline sedan for the Japanese market can be equipped with the new driver assistance system, the first of its kind in the world.

Aiming to revive its sluggish earnings, the Japanese automaker is seeking under a medium-term business plan unveiled Tuesday to enhance the quality and brand image of its vehicles with next-generation technologies.

"No other company has this technology of navigated highway driving system with hands-off single-lane driving," Nissan Executive Vice President Kunio Nakaguro told a press conference at the carmaker's headquarters in Yokohama.

Tetsuya Iijima, general manager of Nissan's autonomous drive development, said it would not be easy for other carmakers to commercially offer a more sophisticated assistance system for the moment.

To use the new system, drivers will need to first set their destinations in the navigation system before entering highways. Once on highways, the system will assist drivers with changing lanes until highway exits are reached. It will also allow hands-off driving while cruising in a single lane.

Drivers will need to place their hands on the steering wheel when changing lanes to pass slower vehicles.

The navigated highway driving relies on three-dimensional high-definition maps, cameras, radars, sonar and global positioning system data for 360-degree, real-time information of the surrounding environment and to determine the vehicle's precise location.

Carmakers and technology companies such as Google LLC and Tesla Inc. are developing self-driving vehicles not only to reduce road deaths but create new businesses such as ride-hailing autonomous taxis.

Audi AG has put a high-end A8 on the market that can, under certain circumstances, take full control of a vehicle away from the driver, while Daimler AG and BMW AG said in February they will jointly develop vehicles capable of automated driving on highways and during parking.

==Kyodo

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