NISSAN HAS unveiled an autonomous concept car at this week’s Tokyo show that can learn your driving style and copy it when driving itself.
The pure-electric IDS concept, which could be a precursor of the next Nissan Leaf, allows manual driving by its owner but constantly monitors road conditions and steps in if it senses an imminent accident. Such systems are already available on high-end cars, but the IDS is smarter, says Nissan, because it learns your driving style, and so when you switch to autonomous — or Piloted — mode, it mimics your acceleration, braking and cornering technique. If you drive like Senna, so will your IDS.
What’s more, engaging Piloted mode changes the layout of the interior to suit: the steering wheel recedes into the middle of the instrument panel and a large flatscreen entertainment panel emerges; all four seats rotate slightly inwards, making it easier to natter en route, and the interior lighting switches from stimulating blue to a softer colour. Nissan says it will be like relaxing in a living room.
The IDS also signals to the outside world while it drives. A silver line down the side is an LED strip (Nissan calls it the Intention Indicator) that shines red when pedestrians or cyclists are nearby, letting them know they have been spotted. Another electronic display, which faces outside from the instrument panel, can flash messages such as “After you” to pedestrians. It is unclear what sort of message could be flashed up for cyclists.
Other technology on the Nissan IDS concept includes Piloted Park, a self-parking program that can be operated by smartphone or tablet, and wireless charging.
Nissan has not revealed the range of the IDS but says it is designed to travel long distances between charges and is fitted with a 60kWh battery — that’s more than twice the capacity of the 24kWh battery in the new Leaf, which has a range of 155 miles.
Nissan says it plans to have autonomous driving technology in many of its models by 2020, and that the IDS concept shows it is on track to meet that target.