ProPilot is Nissan’s semi-autonomous driver assistance system that was already quite capable of controlling the car on its own without much input from the driver. However, drivers were required to have their hands on the steering wheel at all times. Nissan has now introduced the updated ProPilot 2.0 which enables hands-off highway driving for the first time.
ProPilot 2.0 has been designed for on-ramp to off-ramp highway driving. It engages with the vehicle’s navigation system to maneuver the car based on a defined route on designated roadways. The system allows drivers to cruise in a single lane on the highway without having to keep their hands on the wheel.
Nissan is introducing some new, advanced driver assist systems for the Japanese market Skyline sedan this fall. Similarly to Tesla's Navigate on Autopilot, the updated ProPILOT system now combines navigation and automatic lane-changing. In addition, hands-off driving is enabled when certain guidelines are met and the driver is paying attention to the road ahead. Earlier ProPILOT iterations have required the driver to keep a hand on the wheel at all times.
This advanced cruise control/lane keeping assist now allows hands-off driving in a single highway lane, while constantly monitoring the driver's attentiveness, as the system will need the driver to take over in a sudden situation. With a pre-defined route activated on the navigation system and relying on a suite of cameras and radars, the ProPILOT equipped Skyline is able to change lanes and choose the correct ramp; at the highway exit ramp, the system prompts the driver to take full control of the car, both with audio and visual cues.
Nissan is expanding its ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous system to two more crossovers in North America in late 2018. The Rogue Sport in the U.S. and the Qashqai in Canada will get the technology, which Nissan says is now in more than 120,000 vehicles globally.
For the U.S., the Rogue Sport is the fourth Nissan model to get the technology, joining its kin the top-selling Rogue, the all-electric Leaf and the 2019 Altima midsize sedan, which of course isn't yet on sale. It made its debut in 2016 on the Japanese-market Serena minivan and also is offered on the European Qashqai and Japan's X-Trail.
The 2019 Nissan Altima midsize family sedan will be revealed soon at the New York Auto Show. We've seen it in spy shots, and we've seen an early sketch, and now we know one of the features that will be available. The new Altima will have ProPilot Assist as an option.
In case you haven't heard of ProPilot Assist or just forgot about it, the feature is a semi-autonomous driving system that provides steering, acceleration and braking assistance on highways. It can bring the car to a complete stop and resume accelerating up to speed, it recognizes other cars and adjusts speed, and it keeps the car in its lane. It does require the driver to continue paying attention and to keep hands on the steering wheel. Also, while it can handle some corners on highways, there are limits to how tight a corner it can manage.
We've had a bit of experience with the Nissan ProPilot Assist system here at Autoblog. I was the first to try it out with a Rogue prototype during a press test drive, and we later got one to test for the 2018 Tech of the Year award. In each instance it managed to impress us with its ease of use and general effectiveness. It did so enough to merit a spot as a Tech of the Year finalist.
However, every experience we had with the technology was fairly brief, with only short highway jaunts to demonstrate how it works. Long highway jaunts is really what ProPilot is meant for, so to find out just how helpful it is, I drove a 2018 Rogue equipped with its new ProPilot Assist option to the Chicago Auto Show.
We've been hearing a lot about Nissan's ProPilot technology lately. ProPilot Assist is coming to the U.S. in the Rogue, as well as the Leaf EV. For this generation, the system allows for Level 2 autonomous driving, which is essentially adaptive cruise control paired with a lane-keeping function. Later, Nissan will add ProPilot Park, which allows the car to park itself. The next generation of ProPilot, though, allows for Level 4 fully autonomous driving, even on urban streets, beginning in 2020. Nissan has announced that it has already tested it on public roads during a demonstration in Tokyo.
The prototype test vehicle is an Infiniti Q50. It's fitted with 12 cameras, 12 sonar sensors, nine millimeter-wave radar sensors, six laser scanners and high-definition mapping, all run through artificial intelligence. With this combination of hardware and software, the Q50 prototype can navigate across town or on the highway, automating the entire driving duties from the moment the passenger selects a destination until their arrival. It can tackle busy intersections and respond to obstacles in the road, providing what Nissan claims is a "human-like driving feel that gives passengers peace of mind."