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Nissan puts ProPILOT in Qashqai driver’s seat

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One of the attractions of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show was the new Nissan Qashqai, featuring the ProPILOT autonomous drive system, which be added to the Qashqai during 2017.

It includes a wide range of premium enhancements, a contemporary new design and dynamic performance improvements. Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies have been added to the vehicle as it celebrates 10 years as a crossover.

Nissan Intelligent Mobility is the brand’s blueprint for the future of motoring, targeting zero emissions and zero fatalities. It was first announced a year ago, at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Since then, significant progress has been made under all three of its pillars: Intelligent Driving, covering advances on how cars are driven; Intelligent Power, which guides developments on how they are powered; and Intelligent Integration, a wider investment strategy on the role vehicles play in society.

Under Intelligent Driving, progress to date includes a public demonstration of Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM). It’s a development of NASA technology which will help autonomous vehicles navigate unexpected obstacles.

Nissan’s vehicle-to-grid technology – part of Intelligent Integration – is now undergoing trials in countries including Denmark and the UK. The first units are with customers, allowing them to sell energy back to a power network.

Similarly, Nissan’s second-life battery storage technology – taking batteries from used Nissan LEAF cars – continues to make rapid progress. The first Nissan xStorage units are now in homes and offices, and also powering Amsterdam Arena, home to Ajax Football Club.

The Nissan BladeGlider prototype showcases the innovation and excitement of a high-performance Nissan EV – a key part of the Intelligent Power strategy. In February, Nissan revealed how it brought the streets of Monaco alive, with the brand’s new EV ambassador, Hollywood actress Margot Robbie, at the wheel.

And Nissan has announced that the world’s best-selling EV – the Nissan LEAF – will feature ProPILOT autonomous driving technology when the second-generation model is launched very soon.

ProPILOT controls the steering, acceleration and braking in a single lane on highways, providing consumers with a more confident drive, enhanced control and greater freedom. It is already in action on the road with Nissan Serena customers in Japan.

Last week Nissan staged a major media event on public roads in London, demonstrating a more advanced version of ProPILOT for the first time in Europe.

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Why sports cars make us feel good

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Forget romance, fine dining or an epic boxset binge – new preliminary research reveals that driving a sports car on a daily basis is among the best ways to boost your sense of wellbeing and emotional fulfilment.

The study measured “buzz moments” – peak thrills that play a vital role in our overall wellness – as volunteers cheered on their favourite football team, watched a gripping Game of Thrones episode, enjoyed a passionate kiss with a loved one or took an intense salsa dancing class. Only the occasional highs of riding a roller coaster ranked higher than the daily buzz of a commute in a sports car.

Working with neuroscientists and designers, Ford brought the research to life with the unique Ford Performance Buzz Car: a customised Ford Focus RS incorporating wearable and artificial intelligence technology to animate the driver’s emotions in real time across the car’s exterior. 

Watch the video here https://youtu.be/AFpt6jziFsU

“A roller coaster may be good for a quick thrill, but it’s not great for getting you to work every day,” said Dr Harry Witchel, Discipline Leader in Physiology. “This study shows how driving a performance car does much more than get you from A to B – it could be a valuable part of your daily wellbeing routine.”

Study participants who sat behind the wheel of a Ford Focus RS, Focus ST or Mustang experienced an average of 2.1 high-intensity buzz moments during a typical commute; this compared with an average of 3 buzz moments while riding on a roller coaster, 1.7 while on a shopping trip, 1.5 each while watching a Game of Thrones episode or a football match, and none at all while salsa dancing, fine dining or sharing a passionate kiss. 

For the research, Ford took one Focus RS and worked with Designworks to create the Buzz Car:

From concept, design and installation to software development and programming, the Buzz Car took 1,400 man-hours to create. Each “buzz moment” experienced by the driver – analysed using a real-time “emotional AI” system developed by leading empathic technology firm Sensum – produces a dazzling animation across almost 200,000 LED lights integrated into the car. The Buzz Car also features:

  • High-performance Zotac VR GO gaming PC
  • 110 x 500-lumen daylight-bright light strips
  • 82 display panels with 188,416 individually addressable LEDs

Driver state research

Researchers at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Aachen, Germany are already looking into how vehicles can better understand and respond to drivers’ emotions. As part of the EUfunded ADAS&ME project, Ford experts are investigating how in-car systems may one day be aware of our emotions – as well as levels of stress, distraction and fatigue – providing prompts and warnings, and could even take control of the car in emergency situations.

“We think driving should be an enjoyable, emotional experience,” said Dr Marcel Mathissen, research scientist at Ford of Europe. “The driver-state research Ford and its partners are undertaking is helping to lead us towards safer roads and – importantly – healthier driving.”

Activity Buzz Moments *
Roller Coaster 3
Driving 2.1
Shopping 1.7
Game of Thrones 1.5
Football Game 1.5
Kissing 0
Salsa Dancing 0
Dining 0

* Average number of high-intensity buzz moments per participant

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Car that sees round corners

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Jaguar Land Rover is leading a £4.7 million (approximately R79 million) project to develop self-driving cars that can ‘see’ at blind junctions and through obstacles.

Britain’s biggest carmaker is leading a project called AutopleX to combine connected, automated and live mapping tech so more information is provided earlier to the self-driving car. This enables automated cars to communicate with all road users and obstacles where there is no direct view, effectively helping them see, so they can safely merge lanes and negotiate complex roundabouts autonomously.

Chris Holmes, Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover said: “This project is crucial in order to bring self-driving cars to our customers in the near future. Together with our AutopleX partners, we will merge our connected and autonomous research to empower our self-driving vehicles to operate safely in the most challenging, real-world traffic situations. This project will ensure we deliver the most sophisticated and capable automated driving technology.”

Jaguar Land Rover is developing fully- and semi-automated vehicle technologies, offering customers a choice of an engaged or automated drive, while maintaining an enjoyable and safe driving experience. The company’s vision is to make the self-driving car viable in the widest range of real-life, on- and off-road driving environments and weather.

AutopleX will develop the technology through simulation and public road testing both on motorways and in urban environments in the West Midlands. Highways England, INRIX, Ricardo, Siemens, Transport for West Midlands and WMG at the University of Warwick join the AutopleX consortium, which was announced as part of Innovate UK’s third round of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Funding in March 2018.

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