Nissan's ProPilot Assist could be a commuter's best friend new messages
The road to self-driving cars has many levels.
And with ProPilot Assist, Nissan is cracking level two.
The system, which is coming to the new Leaf later this year, will not enable autonomous driving.
Company officials are being refreshingly candid about that.
This suite of tech is designed to ease the stress of stop and go driving, not to take over.
I've come here to Nissan's tech center in Farmington Hills, Michigan to try out pro-pilot assist and that's appropriate since 50,000 miles of US development were quarterbacked right here out of this very facility.
Let's hop into Nissan's test vehicle and see how it works.
Activation is easy.
You just press this blue icon to turn ProPILOT on, and then press the set button as you would for cruise control.
The system only activates lane centering when conditions permit.
The system leverages a front facing camera and radar to do its work.
There's not a lot of expensive extra hardware required.
So we're here on 696 in suburban Michigan, on the freeway in heavy traffic.
And right now, I've got this system activated and it's keeping me safely in the middle of the lane with a preset distance between me and the vehicle ahead.
I've got the cruise control right now set at 75, but traffic isn't really allowing for it.
So right now we're going about 65.
It knows I don't have my foot on the pedal right now.
And I don't actually really have to steer very much.
Nissan has tested this system all around the country, not just for the different lane markings that vary state to state, but also different conditions like.
Right now, we're going into a tunnel and it changes the light level and the contrast that this system has to work with.
And that can be pretty challenging and it seems to be dealing with that with no problems whatsoever.
And we've only been in the road for a few minutes.
But one of the things I'm really impressed about with this system is how well is keeping me centered in the lane.
And when you're in Michigan where sometimes the lane markings aren't great.
And the road conditions with potholes and such also aren't great.
It picked up the two lines which it needs on either side of the vehicle immediately and has held on to that ever since.
This is a single lane system, it can't change lanes on it's own.
However, if you initiate a lane change, it will reactivate automatically So if you focus as driver happens to drift off a little bite and you are not actively involved in your steering.
It's going to warn you after a little while.
So i have got my hands capped over the wheel here.
But am not really exerting any toward coming.
So it's gonna realize that am not really fully including the driving process.
And it pups up the warning on the gauge cluster.
[SOUND] So it gives me an audible chime and it's more urgent.
And then it taps the brakes saying wake up, stupid.
If I'm still not paying proper attention, or for some reason I'm incapacitated, this vehicle will actually slow down in lane all the way to a stop Putting the hazard lights on the back so that surrounding traffic knows there's something wrong and they get away from this vehicle.
At the end of the day, ProPILOT Assist is a pretty simple system.
But if my test is any indication, it works exactly as advertised.
Most impressively, Nissan is rolling it out in more affordable, higher volume models like the next LEAF and soon, the Rogue.
Instead of high dollar Infinitis, that means this safety tech will be in more customers' hands and on the road sooner and that's good news for all motorists, not just Nissan drivers.
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