Nissan LEAF With Driver Assist System Gets License Plate For Public Road Testing In Japan (w/video)

SEP 26 2013 BY MARK KANE 7

First Nissan LEAF with Advanced Driver Assist System will be tested on Japanese roads

First Nissan LEAF with Advanced Driver Assist System will be tested on Japanese roads

Nissan announced that President and CEO Carlos Ghosn today took delivery of Japan’s first license plate for a vehicle equipped with “highly advanced driver assist systems.”

This vehicle will be tested on Japanese roads, marking a first for this type of technology to be used on roads in Japan.

The Japanese manufacturer argues that real-world testing is critical to develop Autonomous Drive before 2020.  The license plate includes the number 2020, which reflects “Nissan’s goal to be ready with multiple, commercially-viable Autonomous Drive vehicles by the year 2020“.

Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn stated:

“This is an ordinary license plate for an extraordinary vehicle. A month ago we revealed to the world our 2020 Autonomous Drive target. Road testing of the underlying technologies is critical to maintaining our leadership position and we are grateful to the Government of Japan for its support.”

Nissan Executive Vice President for Research and Development, Mitsuhiko Yamashita, added:

“The realization of the Autonomous Drive system is one of our greatest goals, because Zero Fatalities stands alongside Zero Emissions as major objective of Nissan’s R&D. Through public road testing, we will further develop the safety, efficiency and reliability of our technology.”

The first prototype to be tested is capable of a number of functions, but the systems are designed to allow the driver to manually take over control at any time:

  • Lane keeping
  • Automatic Exit
  • Automatic lane change
  • Automatic overtaking slower or stopped vehicles
  • Automatic deceleration behind congestion on freeways
  • Automatic stopping at red lights
The Nissan LEAF to be tested is capable of a number of functions

The Nissan LEAF to be tested is capable of a number of functions

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7 Comments on "Nissan LEAF With Driver Assist System Gets License Plate For Public Road Testing In Japan (w/video)"

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So if the power is out at an intersection, is this thing gonna just blow through it?

Kdawg, I know you fight this one so I’m gonna be the anit-kdawg (this one only). Think Apollo 13. You have a craft driving itself in unknown waters until something goes wrong. The risk of the guy sitting behind the wheel exists, yet the reward makes it worthwhile. This is a difficult job I am sure because you get lulled into the craft doing the heavy lifting (until it doesn’t). I programmed robots and machine tools in my past life and I have seen what it looks like when things go wrong. I have also seen what it looks like when it goes right. I also rode motorcycles and hanglided for fun. Sometimes you just have to jump off the cliff and trust the prototype wings to soar the highest and the longest. I would stay as clear of that Leaf as I would an auto labeled “student driver”, but it looks like they have a well mapped out plan to test six conditions. I say “good on ya” Nissan!

I’m not fighting this. I think these things are good. I just think they are a lot harder to pull off than many people seem to think. We do not yet have computers with AI. Computers and robots are good at doing the same thing over & over. They are not good at handling anomalies, which our world is full of. My company used to build AGV’s. Most today still use a magnetic strip, or lasers, etc to guide them. The auto-pilot cars are basically trying to use cameras and process all of the data to figure out what is happening. I know vision systems have become a lot better for robotics (lots of people pushing 3d now), but those are very controlled environments, with the correct lighting, with less scenarios, with time for the computer to process the data, and a lot less risk to human life. A car going 70mph down the road in the winter at night during a snowstorm is going to have trouble processing the data. Even the human brain struggles with this. But even those things don’t worry me as much as the “known unknowns”. My prediction is, as these things are developed, we… Read more »

I’m sure the intelligent engineers that are working on this autonomous vehicle have taken many “what if” situations — like the power being out at intersections — in mind.

I don’t disagree with the complexities of going a 100% as I have agreed with Elon’s 85-90% auto pilot approach in previous blogs. This test is only about six things. It is for your argument points showing the need to test them in real world scenarios. That is just sound trouble shooting. I have written code that I would have bet the farm was flawless that failed in the first five minutes. Not because of bad coding but that I did not consider all the variables which is your continual and sound point. The exciting thing to me is that they feel confident enough to start testing. There is still gonna be a real test pilot and probably a co-pilot sweating bullets all the time. But to state it once more for clarification, the real brilliance is recognizing the answer that works at 90% like Musk. Or like our Volts if you will. I don’t consider the EREV inferior, just brilliant. Waiting for the 100% sometimes is a mistake. There are real applications for even things short of the 90% auto pilot in this areana. We have no idea at this point what the “initial” Nissan/Google/Tesla/etc product will look like… Read more »

I’m somewhat skeptical about the whole autonomous thing. The liabilities are high – will lawyers stop the progress (again) ?

I’d get the automatic braking for object/accident avoidance online and debugged first. In fact, I would make that a separate black box from everything else. Without that, nothing else is going to work.