Nissan to add robot driving, digitize link between steering wheel and tires

The Japanese carmaker said the new technologies will be added to some of its cars globally within the next 12 months

Nissan will soon sell cars that drive like a video game, with sensors and software that assist or even take over for drivers in emergencies.

The company said Wednesday its new technology will be the world's first to do away the mechanical connection between steering and control of vehicles, replacing it with an electronic one. As drivers spin and twist their steering wheels in the new cars, information will be sent digitally to processors and motors that control the wheels on the ground.

Nissan will launch the new system in cars including its Infiniti brand globally within the next 12 months. Human driving will become one of many inputs in the vehicles, with software providing added control or even taking over in dangerous situations. Tactile feedback will be sent to drivers to make up for the lost "feel" of the road.

"The system controls and insulates the vehicle from unnecessary road-generated disturbances to deliver only the necessary performance feel to the driver," the company said.

A spokesman said specific details are still to be determined, although the feature will come as standard on certain models, as opposed to being sold as an add-on.

The company said digitally controlled cars will mean, for instance, that drivers no longer have to grasp their steering wheels more tightly through rough patches in streets. Cars will also use a camera mounted above the rearview mirror to scan the road ahead and help keep themselves in their current lane.

Nissan will also launch an additional "Autonomous Emergency Steering System" that acts to avoid accidents that can't be avoided by slamming on the brakes. A detection system consisting of several radar units, a front-mounted camera, and five laser scanners arrayed around the vehicle will detect if a collision is imminent, then indicate a clear path to the driver when it is too late to stop.

If the driver doesn't immediately respond, the car will take over and automatically steer to avoid an accident.

While Nissan is pitching the new technology as an aid to drivers and a form of computer-assisted driving, it is sure to raise safety concerns.

Nissan said the electronic control of vehicles will be handled by multiple control units, with backups for when one fails. A "backup clutch" will connect the steering wheel and the wheels on the ground automatically in situations where electronic control fails all together.

Some carmakers, including Nissan, have also shown cars that can drive or park themselves over short distances, and firms like Google are testing completely driverless cars in the U.S.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?