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Nissan Ariya concept signals next step in autonomy

Once a futuristic dream, autonomous vehicles (AVs) are now morphing from an abstract concept into a tangible reality.

Concepts like a crossover electric vehicles (EVs) with twin electric motors, powerful acceleration, driver assistance technology and a look that signals a complete reinvention sum up the new Nissan Ariya Concept, introduced recently at the 46th Tokyo Motor Show. Nissan says it “signals the dawn of a new era for evolutionary phase of the automobile”.

The Ariya Concept offers a spacious cabin with high-tech features and a body that “conveys the pure, clean nature of electric cars” . Nissan says it embodies the Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision of personal transportation – “one where electrification and vehicle intelligence will offer seamless and adaptive travel experiences free of accidents or harmful emissions”.

“The Ariya Concept highlights Nissan’s promise of an entirely new driving experience that’s just on the horizon,” said Takao Asami, senior vice president for research and advanced engineering at Nissan. “This zero-emission crossover isn’t a concept car based on far-off ideas; it’s a showcase of technologies available in the very near term.”

There is consensus in the automotive industry that with manufacturing, there is a gateway to inclusive economic growth. The Ariya Concept is an example of automotive production which will broaden local value chains, advances technology, and supports local skills development.

The Ariya Concept expands on design elements first hinted at by the Nissan IMx concept at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show.

“The Ariya Concept represents a strong collaboration between design and engineering,” said Yasuhiro Yamauchi, representative executive officer of Nissan Motor Company.

“In order to fully embrace this technology and harness its true potential, we do need to address the infrastructure challenges – such as potholes and unclear and / or damaged road markings and signs – that could otherwise derail our efforts as well as design structures with this technology in mind now, so as to mitigate against having to make costly modifications later.

The technology offers motorists lower fuel consumption rates and reduced travel time. And it lays the foundations for improved public transport systems.

‘Human factors’ have been identified as the primary reason for more than 75 percent of all fatal road accidents in South Africa. AV technology represents one way in which we can mitigate against the risk of these human factors. It doesn’t get tired or distracted nor does it deviate from the rules of the road.

AVs represent the future of the automotive industry and will also contribute significantly to the revenue of growth of various industries such as technology and electronics. Deloitte’s 2019 Global Automotive Consumer Study revealed that consumers are willing to pay extra for connected technologies.

Autonomous vehicles have the potential to reduce accidents, reduce CO2 emissions are more efficient and is something that all South Africans should explore embracing.

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