Nissan Motor Co. today revealed the IDS Concept during the Tokyo Motor Show 2015. This concept car is Nissan’s way of showing what it believes is what we should expect in the future when it comes to electric vehicles. It should have zero emissions and it should feature autonomous driving.
No other than the company’s president and CEO Carlos Ghosn led the presentation. Ghosn shared that with the upcoming technologies developed by the brand, there will be a new future for mobility that transforms the relationship between the driver and the car.
Nissan has always been ahead when it comes to the technology on electric vehicles and now it is poised to take the lead again in automotive technology. While the use of safety technologies and better vehicle control is a practice in the industry, Nissan takes it a step further by incorporating the two with the latest in artificial intelligence.
This makes the company the leader when it comes to autonomous drive technology with its focus on real-world applications. It was back in August 2013 when the company shared its goal of including state-of-the-art technology on autonomous driving to different models by the year 2020.
According to Ghosn, the company remains on track in meeting this objective. One of the results of their efforts is the Nissan Intelligent Driving, which for Nissan, is what next-generation cars should be. Ghosn shares that more than 90% of car-related accidents that occur are due to human error.
However, Ghosn adds, the Nissan Intelligent Driving is able to help the driver not just see better but even think faster and react quicker. Thus, driving becomes not just efficient but enjoyable as well, Ghosn relates.
This is in addition to the added feeling of safety and with less emission, a cleaner way of driving, Ghosn concludes. It is no surprise then that by 2020, the company expects that cars all over the world will have the Nissan Intelligent Driving activated.
So how does autonomous driving work? Most people think it is as simple as that of conveyer belts, transferring people from one destination to another. However, what the brand is offering through the Nissan IDS Concept is more than that.
Once the driver selects Piloted Drive, the system handles everything including accelerating, cornering, and even braking. In fact, the Nissan Intelligent Driving can mimic the driver to duplicate not just the preferences but also even the style of driving.
Clearly when the Manual Drive mode is selected, the driver gets control of the car. This does not mean though that the Nissan IDS Concept stops working altogether. Even with the manual mode activated, the system continues to give assistance, albeit from behind the scenes.
For instance, sensors are always working and monitoring the current conditions and when needed, these provide the necessary assistance. Suppose the system determines that the current situation has become dangerous, it will then assist the driver and take the needed emergency action.
That is not what the AI does though. It actually acts more like a devoted companion who makes sure that the driver gets important information like the present traffic conditions and can even act as a reminder on schedules and meetings. This is what the Nissan IDS Concept is offering: comfort, fun, and safety.
However, in order for Nissan to reach its goal of having the system in every vehicle, people would need to accept the idea of an autonomous drive and trust the technology that makes it work. Thus in order to do this, the Nissan IDS Concept will need to show that it is working amazingly well even when looking from the outside.
The concept car does this by using different lights on the exterior in order to inform other cars and pedestrians that the system has knowledge of what is occurring and to signify what it is planning. A good example of this is the silver line that is on its side.
This is in fact an LED known as Intention Indicator. What happens is that when a pedestrian is nearby, the indicator gives a red color to inform the same pedestrian that the AI is aware of the situation.
There is also an electronic display placed near the instrument panel but can be seen from the outside. It can show an “After you” message directed to pedestrians. This is just one example of how this system can work and show how far the future of cars can go.
Design Director Mitsunori Morita shares that when the Nissan Intelligent Driving technology is installed on many production cars, it will also be then that electric vehicles are able to travel longer distances on one charge.
Morita adds though that in order to reach that, batteries will need to be improved. The same thing goes for car's aerodynamic performance. For this Nissan IDS Concept, the company made sure that it features the latest aerodynamic technology, Morita concludes.
One of the problems regarding aerodynamics is that of drag. In order to address this, Nissan made sure that the body was made entirely of carbon fiber and that its height would not exceed 1,380 mm. With this, there is minimal drag on the Nissan IDS Concept.
Another improvement was in placing the tires nearer the corners in order to have a more wrap-around design for the cabin and the get the most out of the interior space. In addition, the brand used the wheels that had large diameters in order to ensure high performance.
However, Nissan utilized 175-size tires to minimize both the air resistance and the roll resistance. Furthermore, the design of the wheels gives it a layer that makes it appear like thin fins. This is not a design feature but has function in that it ensures the surface of the wheel to get the needed airflow thereby contributing to the smooth airflow experienced by the car.
In front of the Nissan IDS Concept is a grille that carries an icicle pattern, which embodies a clean design, something apt for an electric vehicle. Since it has a shape that looks like blocks of ice stacked on each other, it gives the grille its transparent look.
The color also gives those looking an impression of what the concept car can offer. With a color in bluish satin silver, it displays comfort and security.
Nissan's goal to produce zero emission cars is centered on electric vehicles. This revelation was done by Executive Vice President Hideyuki Sakamoto during the shareholders' meeting held last June.
The company is continuing on its objective of improving technologies related to electric powertrains like those of inverters and motors, Sakamoto adds.
By doing this, the company is sure to that it is able to mass produce electric vehicles that offer greater convenience than petrol-powered cars, concludes Sakamoto.
With this battery plus improvements on the aerodynamics due to the reduced weight and the lower stance, the Nissan IDS Concept can meet the requirements needed for long distance travel. Another important technology that comes with this concept car is Piloted Park.
What makes this truly innovative is that it enables the driver to let the car do the parking and even the charging. What's more, the system can be operated remotely though a tablet or smartphone. The company relates that in order to reach the goal of having a sustainable society that continues to use cars, some difficult issues need to be addressed.
These include, among many others, air pollution, climate change, safety, and sustainable energy. In order to achieve this goal, Nissan made it a point to set zero emissions and zero fatalities as its main objectives. As mentioned previously, more than 90% of traffic accidents that occur are due to human error.
With its utilization of various sensors plus an AI, the Nissan IDS Concept is clearly designed to provide better safety than just a human driver. The use of this technology is but a step to the company's goal of having zero fatalities.
Electric vehicles have the advantage of using and storing energy from renewable sources as well as ensure that there are no CO2 emissions. Thus, when the car is not used, the electricity can be used to power homes.
There will come a time when the number of electric vehicles will increase to the point that they will be able to power communities with sustainable energy. In all of these, electric vehicles will play an important role especially in a society that has zero emissions. For Nissan, the Nissan IDS Concept is but the start of a path to the next generation in mobility and to make the “two zeroes” not just a possibility but rather a reality. With features that highlight better safety, improved technology, and electric vehicle technology, it is without a doubt that the Nissan IDS Concept is the way to the future.