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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Robot co-pilot leads Nissan’s Infiniti down a different path

High-end unit of the Japanese car maker Nissan has unveiled technology that is designed to assist drivers rather than replace them as most manufacturers aim to do.
The Infiniti QX50 concept car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Mark Blinch / Reuters
The Infiniti QX50 concept car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Mark Blinch / Reuters

While most major car makers are rushing headlong into the driverless cars era, one Japanese motor manufacturer is eschewing that bandwagon to concentrate on automated help rather than outright replcement.

Inifiniti, the luxury arm of Nissan, has previewed ProPilot, an evolving suite of autonomous drive support technologies, at the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

Central to the strategy for the development of all future co-pilot systems is that they should ensure the driver retains ultimate control over their vehicle – in keeping with Infiniti’s focus on driver engagement. Empowering rather than replacing the driver, ProPilot will act as a co-pilot and take on the management of less rewarding driving tasks, Infiniti said, such as ensuring safe progress in stop-start traffic on the highway or keeping track of the position of surrounding vehicles.

In addition to the driving tech, the QX50 will also see the first implementation of Infiniti’s new variable compression or VC engine technology that debuted at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.

Infiniti expects the new 2 litre, turbocharged VC four-cylinder engine to produce 268 horsepower while using 27 per cent less fuel than a comparable V6.

The co-pilot technologies showcased at NAIAS feature on the QX50 Concept, which demonstrates how a future Infiniti premium mid-sized 4x4 could look and also makes its debut at the show.

“Infiniti customers love to drive and our approach to autonomous driving reflects this. Equipping drivers with their very own co-pilot, the QX50 Concept lights a path to the future integration of Infiniti’s autonomous drive co-pilot technologies, reimagining how the driver interacts with the car,” said Roland Krueger, the president of Infiniti.

ProPilot is designed to improve on-road safety by supporting the driver in identifying and responding to other road users and potential hazards. The technologies draw on inputs from laser scanners, radar and camera to read the road ahead and monitor the vehicle’s surroundings, and allow the car to react accordingly.

chnelson@thenational.ae

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