Nissan’s Leaf Piloted Drive Concept 1.0 previews the brand’s autonomous vehicle future

Nissan Piloted Drive 1.0 Concept
Nissan is ready to join the ranks of automakers testing semiautonomous vehicles with its Leaf Piloted Drive 1.0 Concept.

Based on the first-generation Nissan Leaf EV, the concept gains a slew of sensors and cameras to enable lane changes, merges on and off highways, and passing of vehicles without driver assistance. Nissan claims the Piloted Drive 1.0 Concept previews a fully autonomous production car due in 2020.

Testing of the Piloted Drive system began earlier this week in Japan at Nissan’s Advanced Technology Center is the south of Tokyo. The suite of semiautonomous systems are intended to make “occupants feel as though they were in the hands of a skilled driver.” I suppose that’s an encouragement for those who fear a self-driving vehicle would handle like a newly licensed 16-year-old.

2016 Nissan Leaf EV

The Leaf concept vehicle is equipped with dozens of sensors, 12 cameras, five radar sensors, four laser scanners, and ultrasonic sensors, according to Tetsuya Iijima who is general manager of Nissan’s advanced driver assist systems strategy and engineering division. That’s a whole lot more guidance technology than semiautonomous systems currently being tested on roads like Tesla’s Model S Auto Pilot.

Iijima noted that autonomous driving on the highway will be offered in Japan before the end of 2016. To meet regulations for this testing, the Leaf concept will feature a Manual Drive mode that lets a human driver regain control of the vehicle and operate it like a normal car.

As far as the Piloted Drive 1.0 Concept’s powertrain, expect it to share the internals of the 2016 Leaf, which uses a new 30kW battery pack good for 107 miles of electric driving range. In related news, Nissan will reveal a new concept at the Tokyo Motor Show next month that will showcase the brand’s “future vision of car intelligence and electrification,” most likely meaning it will use a full electric powertrain and semiautonomous driving tech. similar to systems on the Piloted Drive 1.0 Concept.


The Polestar 2, Sweden’s answer to the Tesla Model 3, begins taking shape

Volvo sister company Polestar has released a teaser image to give us our first look at the 2, its second model. Polestar tells us the 2 will arrive as a four-door fastback with a 400-hp electric powertrain and about 300 miles of range.

Audi’s Geneva-bound Q4 E-Tron concept will give us a glimpse of the future

Audi has released a trio of teaser sketches to preview the Q4 E-Tron concept. Scheduled to make its debut at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show, the design study takes the form of an electric SUV with a muscular design and a tech-filled interior.

Honda’s Urban EV is shaping up to be a high-tech, high-style electric city car

Honda will travel to the 2019 Geneva Auto Show to unveil a close-to-production prototype that previews an adorable, city-friendly electric car. The Urban EV will offer about 155 miles of range, and its interior is a tech lover's dream come…
Smart Home

Ford’s ingenious bed for couples keeps mattress hogs in their own half

Drawing on its driverless-car technology, Ford has created a smart bed for couples that uses sensors and a conveyor belt to prevent either occupant from straying onto the other half of the mattress while they doze.

Report: Amazon and General Motors may invest in electric pickup company Rivian

General Motors and Amazon may invest between $1 billion to $2 billion for minority stakes in U.S. startup Rivian, an all-electric truck company, Reuters reports. Rivian introduced the R1T pickup at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto show.

Ford F-150 recall: Fault could cause vehicle to downshift into first gear

Ford is recalling 1.48 million F-150 vehicles over a potential fault that could cause it to suddenly downshift into first gear. The automaker said it's currently aware of five accidents related to the issue.

Volkswagen’s hot-rodded T-Roc R is ready to shred its tires to confetti

Volkswagen released a teaser sketch to preview a hot-rodded SUV named T-Roc R. Insiders suggest it will be closely related to the mighty Golf R, meaning it will pack a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at about 300…

Tesla’s Dog Mode lets good Samaritans know that Fido’s A-OK

Tesla's latest over-the-air software update adds two features called Sentry Mode and Dog Mode. Sentry Mode records footage and alerts the owner if someone breaks in, while Dog Mode runs the A/C so owners can safely keep their dogs in their…

Rock out in the carpool lane with Singing Machine’s Carpool Karaoke microphone

Carpool Karaoke fans can count down the days till summer. That's when Singing Machine's Carpool Karaoke microphone will be available. Connect the Carpool Karaoke Mic to your car radio to make your next road trip a mobile karaoke party.

Bentley Bentayga Speed surpasses Lamborghini Urus as world’s fastest SUV

The Bentley Bentayga Speed has wrested the title of world's fastest SUV from its cousin, the Lamborghini Urus. But the Bentley is just 1 mph faster than the Lamborghini. It requires 626 horsepower to achieve that top speed.
Emerging Tech

With CabinSense, cars will soon know who’s riding in them and respond accordingly

What if your car could know who's riding in it and customize the entertainment and safety options accordingly? That’s what's promised by the new CabinSense in-car Occupancy Monitoring System.

General Motors cycles into a new market with its first-ever ebikes

When General Motors launched a public campaign last year to name its new ebike brand, many wondered if Bikey McBikeface might win out. But it didn't. Instead, it's called Arīv, and the two bikes are up for pre-order this week.
Product Review

The 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country is a do-it-all Swedish army knife

Volvo laced up its smallest station wagon in hiking clothes to create the V60 Cross Country. It's a lifted, all-wheel drive wagon that laughs at icy roads while coddling its occupants. We travel to Sweden to try it out.

2020 Kia Soul and Soul EV continue to think inside the box

The 2020 Kia Soul is the third generation of Kia's boxy curiosity. The Soul maintains its signature look, but gets tech and powertrain upgrades. The all-electric Soul EV returns as well.