Skip to main content

Nissan launches ProPilot autonomous-driving system, with plans to bring it to the US

Nissan wants to put cars with significant autonomous-driving capability on sale by 2020, and it just took a big step toward that goal. The Japanese carmaker is introducing a system called ProPilot that allows cars to autonomously accelerate, brake, and steer in highway traffic.

ProPilot launches on the Nissan Serena minivan, which isn’t available in the U.S., but Nissan plans to offer the system here eventually. It uses a camera mounted at the top of the windshield to “see,” and is activated and deactivated by a switch on the steering wheel. The wheel also has a torque sensor that can tell whether drivers are gripping it, according to Automotive News (subscription required). Drivers are required to touch the wheel periodically to keep the system active.

Related Videos

ProPilot can autonomously follow the car in front at a speed set by the driver, as long as that speed is between 30 kph and 100 kph (18 and 62 mph). The systems also keeps the car centered in its lane by reading lane markings. Nissan says ProPilot can brake a car to a full stop, and will then hold the brakes until the driver touches its activation switch, or presses the accelerator.The ability to follow other cars, make steering corrections, and autonomously brake are already available separately in many production cars, but ProPilot puts them all together.

Read more: Jaguar Land Rover takes self-driving tech off-road

Following ProPilot’s debut on the Serena in Japan, Nissan plans to bring the system to other markets, and add features. The carmaker says it will make ProPilot available in the U.S. and China, but did not specify when it would be available. The next market to get ProPilot will be Europe, where it will be offered on the Qashqai crossover sometime next year.

In 2018, Nissan plans to add the ability to automatically change lanes on the highway, much like Tesla’s Autopilot. It will follow that with a system that enables fully autonomous driving “on urban roads and in intersections” by 2020. Nissan and partner Renault have said they plan to introduce autonomous tech on ten mainstream, mass-market models over the next four years.

That puts Nissan in a good position in the race to introduce fully-autonomous cars. Over the past few years, several carmakers have promised to make the technology available in production cars, or have started research projects. However, the introduction of ProPilot comes as Tesla faces an investigation of a fatal crash involving its Autopilot system. The system was active when a Model S collided with a tractor trailer, leading to questions about the safety of semi-autonomous systems that still require humans to be kept in the loop.

Editors' Recommendations

Tesla Cybertruck prototype spotted with minor changes
A Tesla Cybertruck prototype.

What appears to be a new Tesla Cybertruck prototype has been spotted testing on public roads.

As relayed by Electrek, Twitter user Greg posted a photo Thursday showing a Cybertruck with a different front-end design from what we've seen previously. The front bumper has a more distinct rectangular opening, possibly for cooling. This prototype also has triangular side mirrors, as opposed to the squared-off ones seen previously.

Read more
Why you should consider a plug-in hybrid in 2023
2020 audi q5 tfsi e first drive review phev 19

EVs are all the rage — and it makes sense. Electric vehicles allow you to avoid high gas prices and feel good about not impacting the environment as much, plus they’re usually sleek, stylish, and fast.

But in 2023, owning an EV isn’t for everyone. After all, charging stations, while improving, still aren’t as common as they should be -- and depending on your car, they sometimes aren’t all that fast. If you’re worried about those issues, there’s an alternative — a plug-in hybrid (also known as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or PHEV). These are cars that essentially offer the best of both worlds: A battery and electric motor for quick, clean trips around town, and a gas engine for longer road trips.
What makes a PHEV so great?

Read more
Tesla Destination Chargers vs. Superchargers: What’s the difference?
tesla starts opening its supercharger network to other evs

One of the best things about owning a Tesla is being able to take advantage of the massive network of chargers to quickly and easily charge up your car. Charging a Tesla is extremely easy — all you have to do is plug in your car, and all of the costs and payments are handled automatically.

But did you know there are actually different kinds of Tesla chargers? Tesla Destination Charging and Superchargers are the two main options, but there are some key differences between the two. Understanding these differences will help you make sure you’re taking advantage of the best charger for your needs.

Read more