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Nissan creates a self-driving golf ball that always finds the hole


If you’re a keen golfer but your putting game sucks, you might want to try getting hold of Nissan’s self-driving golf ball.

Tap Nissan’s high-tech ball on the green and watch as it whizzes off by itself, swerving this way and that before it finally finds the hole and drops in. Awesome shot every time!

Of course, your fellow playing partners may raise an eyebrow of suspicion if the ball needs quite a bit of self-steering on its way to its destination, but if only a little correction is needed, they surely won’t spot what’s going on.

In a video (above) demonstrating Nissan’s special creation, we see a young boy performing a putt that sends the ball way off course. But then the technology kicks in, causing the ball to take a sharp left turn for the hole, which it finds a few seconds later.

The setup requires an external camera linked to software that locates the hole and the ball, while an algorithm controls an internal motor that operates according to how the ball is initially struck.

ProPilot 2.0

No, Nissan isn’t diversifying its business with a move into sports equipment. Instead, it’s a fun marketing effort designed to highlight the technology behind its ProPilot 2.0 self-driving system that’s launching soon in Japan with the Skyline. The sedan sells in the U.S. as the Infiniti Q50, though the system hasn’t yet been announced for North America.

The predecessor to ProPilot 2.0, called ProPilot Assist, keeps the car in the center of the lane on a highway, and at a safe distance from vehicles in front, but the driver has to keep their hands on the wheel at all times.

The improved ProPilot 2.0 system, meanwhile, will offer additional functionality that includes a degree of hands-off driving, lane changing, and guidance to the desired highway exit — rather like a golf ball heading to the hole. ProPilot 2.0 uses the kind of kit you’d expect for such a feature, including cameras, sonar, radar, GPS, and 3D map data.

For optimum safety, Nissan insists that with its ProPilot 2.0 technology the driver still needs to remain alert to the road ahead and be ready to take over the controls at any time.

The Yokohama-based carmaker has earned something of a reputation for its offbeat videos highlighting its autonomous tech. Remember its self-driving office chair? Or the autonomous slippers that can neatly park themselves when you hop out of them?

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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