By on May 16, 2019

Will online videos soon emerge showing Nissan drivers taking naps or hopping into the backseat while underway? Maybe, but Nissan hasn’t been as cavalier as Tesla in playing up the abilities of its driver-assist technology. Now that an upgraded system that’s on par with General Motors’ Super Cruise and Tesla’s Autopilot is on the way, the automaker remains cautious.

ProPilot 2.0, as the name implies, is the next generation version of Nissan’s ProPilot Assist technology, and it differs from the first-gen system in one big way: drivers will be able to take their hands off the wheel.

Only under specific circumstances, Nissan warns. Like ProPilot 1.0, which debuted in the 2018 Rogue, the new system hosts an array of cameras and sensors (note: no LIDAR), a lane-centering system, and adaptive cruise control to keep the car on the straight and narrow. The 2.0 version ties the setup to the car’s navigation system, using GPS, high-definition mapping, and other nice things to allow for hands-free cruising — but only on a divided highway, and only after the driver inputs their chosen route.

Drivers must remain alert and ready to take over at a moment’s notice, Nissan says.

ProPilot 2.0 will not work on just any road or highway, the company claims. GPS keeps tabs on the vehicle’s location, allowing hands-free use only where Nissan deems the system safe. Nor will it make lane changes without the driver’s hands on the wheel. To change lanes, the driver must grasp the wheel, signal for the change, and the car waits until it finds an opening.

Nissan

“When the vehicle approaches the highway exit of a predefined route, audio and visual guidance is given to notify the driver that navigated driving is about to end,” the company stated. “Once the vehicle reaches the highway exit ramp, navigated driving is disengaged and the driver takes full control of the vehicle.”

Contrast this with the free-for-all that was, and in some regards still is, Tesla’s Autopilot. Another key difference in Nissan’s approach? Like GM’s Super Cruise, a camera will monitor the driver for signs of inattentiveness.

One caveat to this story: Nissan has only announced ProPilot 2.0 for the Japanese market — specifically, the 2020 Skyline sedan, which American drivers might recognize as an Infiniti Q50. Surely, the new tech will make an appearance in the U.S.; we just don’t know when, and on which vehicles.

Since its debut, the first-gen ProPilot system has found its way into the Leaf, Rogue Sport, and Altima.

[Images: Nissan]

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21 Comments on “Nissan’s ProPilot Aims to Get Your Hands Off the Wheel, but Only Just...”


  • avatar
    iNeon

    Jesus Christ.

    Nissan drivers with automatic steering?

    I don’t want to live in that world.

  • avatar
    dantes_inferno

    Chaos
    Death
    Destruction

    (pick one)

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Nissans already seem to attract pretty bad drivers, only now they’ll get to blame a version of auto pilot built with the cheapest components on the market and typical Nissan under engineering.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “Will online videos soon emerge showing Nissan drivers taking naps or hopping into the backseat while underway?”

    You left out porn star escapades while underway. But then we are talking about Nissans, not Teslas.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    “Drivers must remain alert and ready to take over at a moment’s notice, Nissan says.”

    Yeah, they do that so well now. The only way autonomy will work is if the system can drive because the passengers don’t pay attention to the road.

    • 0 avatar
      theflyersfan

      Dumb idea alert: Let’s scrap this ProPilot, self-driving nonsense and start sending people to mandatory driver’s ed? Maybe then we’ll get safer drivers instead of tech that is bound and certain to fail in the most spectacular way.

      Flipper: Too true. I just wrote here a couple of days ago about almost meeting my maker on I-71 southbound in a light rain and with a Nissan Rogue traveling around 35 mph in the left lane with no lights on when it was almost pitch black outside. Yeah, let’s load those drivers up with more tech to scare them to death. They don’t pay attention to the roads, their surroundings, the condition of the car, and the cars around them. They don’t need technology. The need to lose their license until they are deemed worthy by relearning how to drive.

      (Sorry – a LITTLE P****D right now – dealing with the paperwork and insurance companies after another driver on Cincinnati’s ready-do-collapse-at-any-minute Brent Spence Bridge decided my front fender needed more creases than what came from the factory. So, let’s talk about drivers not paying attention! And it was a Nissan that made sweet love to my fender!!!)

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Man.

    This scares me so much I need to comment a second time because I was just walked-away-from at 80 MPH by a late-model Altima with half it’s rear bumper detached.

    Fully cognizant I’m a catastrophist, but this is going to end very badly for a lot of people.

  • avatar
    mr_mike

    On the flip side, I drove down a pretty narrow 4 lane road yesterday, watching a Rogue driver who was obviously looking at her phone (down) the whole way down… Maybe, just maybe, it will help save someone from being hit/killed by one of these drivers that isn’t paying attention anyway.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    If you see one of those, consider popping at least 2 tires

  • avatar
    northshoreman1

    “To change lanes, the driver must grasp the wheel, signal for the change, and the car waits until it finds an opening.”

    The car handles the lane change when it decides to do so? Or the driver does so after signaling?

    Why do I see issues with the car making/implementing this decision? Will it be a smooth lane change, or rather abrupt?

  • avatar

    Considering that smoking pot is legal in California I am all for having this feature especially in Nissan.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    This makes me nervous. I’ve had experience with the most basic rudimentary semi-autonomous kit in the form of radar adaptive cruise control and automatic brake-hold in a recent Mazda rental I had. Because I wanted to see how it worked, I engaged the radar adaptive cruise at its most distant setting (meaning it maintains the max distance between itself and the vehicle ahead). After about 5 or 10 minutes I could tell my attention was lapsing and I disengaged even those minor “aids”. At the time I was still required to do my own steering and maintain lane.

    If something as seemingly simple as radar adaptive cruise can lead to wandering attention, even when steering inputs are still required, what does that portend for the driver who has to do nothing? You want to lull a driver to sleep and then have them ready to react at a moment’s notice? Methinks these engineers don’t quite know how people work.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    I tried a Leaf with ProPilot. It works, but with an acceleration rate so gentle that instead of plowing into the obstacle like a Tesla you’ll be rear-ended like a grandma.

  • avatar
    islander800

    “Drivers must remain alert and ready to take over at a moment’s notice, Nissan says.”

    Then what’s the whole point??

    This rush for “autonomous” vehicles is group madness.


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