Nissan’s focus area for CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2017 is autonomous driving technology. Carlos Ghosn, CEO, and Chairman of Nissan announced a new system that is driverless and is the called SAM or Seamless Autonomous Mobility system. SAM is considered to be the most significant Intelligent Mobility system. SAM technology is based on NASA i.e it is an autonomous system that is taken care by humans. In a lame man’s terms, usually, challenges that are there with an autonomous system alone, SAM can address all of those problems. As per Nissan, the cars would use their Artificial Intelligence (AI) Cloud processing system.
For e.g an autonomous system might not be able to stop. Change directions at an intersection point where the police are manually directing the cars. However, if the car is designed using SAM system then it won’t take a decision by itself. Rather it would halt, send information to the command center for further assistance.
At the command center, there is a human who is ready to help at all times. This person can see at what junction the car is and then accordingly makes decisions so that the car could move forward seamlessly. This is not all, SAM system has the functionality of communicating with other cars that have SAM system. So that the same solution can be shared among other cars facing the same challenge. Eventually, this leads to reduced human assistance during tricky situations. At CES, as a part of the demo given by Nissan, the time taken by the person at the command center to respond to an autonomous vehicle was less than 10 seconds.
Seamless Autonomous Mobility System is created through VERVE software or Visual Environment for Remote Virtual Exploration that is used in NASA. In NASA this software sends commands to robots who scour celestial body surfaces in the solar system. The best part of SAM is, the system is built in such a way so that human intervention is partially required along with the intelligence of the system itself. In an era, where the constant focus is on automatic systems, Nissan is actually breaking the stereotypical thinking.
Apparently, SAM was not the only breakthrough for Nissan. They also announced their partnership with DeNA so that they start with the testing of self-driven vehicles. The Nissan-Renault alliance plan is to start driverless systems by the end of 2017.
Nissan-Renault Seamless Autonomous Mobility System – Testing would be done in 4 phases:
- Firstly autonomous driving would be practiced in highways with single lanes. This test would be supported by Nissan’s ProPILOT system, which has been used in Japanese versions of Serena.
- After the first phase, Nissan and DeNA would start the testing in highways with multiple lanes. Here the cars would be tested if they can merge and switch lanes without external assistance. This would be carried out in 2018.
- In 2020, the expectation in phase 3 is to start autonomous driving in cities.
- Finally in the 4th phase, hopefully, the cars would be able to move all by themselves making complete use of the SAM system.