Nissan presents futuristic IDS Concept EV at 2015 Tokyo Motor Show [w/video]

Article by Andrew Christian, on October 30, 2015

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.

Press Release

NISSAN IDS CONCEPT: NISSAN’S VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF EVS AND AUTONOMOUS DRIVING

Today at the Tokyo Motor Show 2015, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. unveiled a concept vehicle that embodies Nissan’s vision of the future of autonomous driving and zero emission EVs: the Nissan IDS Concept.

Presenting at the show, Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn said: “Nissan’s forthcoming technologies will revolutionise the relationship between car and driver, and future mobility.”

After leading the development and expansion of EV technology, Nissan once again stands at the forefront of automotive technology. By integrating advanced vehicle control and safety technologies with cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI), Nissan is among the leaders developing practical, real-world applications of autonomous drive technology.

In August 2013, Ghosn said that by 2020 Nissan plans to equip innovative autonomous drive technology on multiple vehicles. Progress is well on track to achieve this goal.

Nissan Intelligent Driving is Nissan’s concept of autonomous drive technology and represents what Nissan believes next-generation vehicles should be. “Nissan Intelligent Driving improves a driver’s ability to see, think and react. It compensates for human error, which causes more than 90 percent of all car accidents. As a result, time spent behind the wheel is safer, cleaner, more efficient and more fun,” continued Ghosn.

By 2020, expect to see Nissan Intelligent Driving technology deployed on cars in cities around the world.

The Nissan IDS experience
Some have compared a future with autonomous drive to living in a world of conveyer belts that simply ferry people from point A to B, but the Nissan IDS Concept promises a very different vision of tomorrow. Even when the driver selects Piloted Drive and turns over driving to the vehicle, the car's performance – from accelerating to braking to cornering – imitates the driver’s own style and preferences.

In Manual Drive mode, the driver has control. The linear acceleration and cornering are pure and exhilarating. Yet behind the scenes, the Nissan IDS Concept continues to provide assistance. Sensors continually monitor conditions and assistance is available even while the driver is in control. In the event of imminent danger, Nissan IDS Concept will assist the driver in taking evasive action.

In addition to learning, the Nissan IDS Concept's AI communicates like an attentive partner. From information concerning traffic conditions, the driver’s schedule to personal interests, Nissan IDS Concept’s AI has what is needed to help create a driving experience that is comfortable, enjoyable and safe.

Design – Together, we ride
“A key point behind the Nissan IDS Concept is communication. For autonomous drive to become reality, as a society we have to consider not only communication between car and driver but also between cars and people. The Nissan IDS Concept's design embodies Nissan's vision of autonomous drive as expressed in the phrase together, we ride,” says Mitsunori Morita, Design Director.

Two interiors enable two ways for the driver to enjoy the experience
Together, we ride is clearly demonstrated in the interior design. “The Nissan IDS Concept has different interiors depending on whether the driver opts for Piloted Drive or Manual Drive. This was something that we thought was absolutely necessary to express our idea of autonomous drive,” says Morita.

Even though it is a hatchback, the Nissan IDS Concept’s long wheelbase enables comfortable seating space for four adults. But the cabin becomes even more spacious when the driver selects Piloted Drive. In this mode, the steering wheel recedes into the centre of the instrument panel and a large flat screen comes out. Various driving-related operations are handled by AI, voice and gestures from the driver. The interior, which comprises natural materials such as mesh leather, is illuminated by soft light. All four seats rotate slightly inward, facilitating easier conversation. It’s like relaxing in a living room.

When the driver selects Manual Drive, the roomy interior transforms to put the driver in control. All seats face forward. The steering wheel, which takes styling cues from reins for horse riding, appears along with driving meters and a heads-up display that shows route and other driving information. Interior lighting switches to blue, stimulating the ability to concentrate. Nissan's use of hollow-structure A-pillars helps ensure excellent visibility by reducing blind spots and also contributes to the feeling of open space.

“In every situation, it is about giving the driver more choices and greater control. And the driver will remain the focus of our technology development efforts,” Ghosn said at the show.

The transformation to Manual Drive can be carried out with ease through a switch between the front seats called the PD Commander. This is the only control the driver can physically operate when the car is in Piloted Drive: when the driver is ready to take over driving, a physical action should initiate the change.

Exterior design — communication that creates confidence and harmony
For autonomous drive to be widely accepted, people need to fully trust the technology. Through its innovative communication capabilities, the Nissan IDS Concept promotes confidence and a sense of harmony for those outside the car as well. Various exterior lights and displays convey to pedestrians and others the car's awareness of its surroundings and signals its intentions. The car's silver side body line, for example, is actually an LED that Nissan calls the Intention Indicator. When pedestrians or cyclists are nearby, the strip shines red, signalling that the car is aware of them. Another electronic display, which faces outside from the instrument panel, can flash messages such as “After you” to pedestrians. This natural, harmonious system of communication signals a new future with cars.

Advanced aerodynamic performance for greater driving range
Design Director Mitsunori Morita says: “By the time Nissan Intelligent Driving technology is available on production cars, EVs will be able to go great distances on a single charge. Getting to this point will, of course, require the further evolution of batteries, but aerodynamic performance is also very important. We incorporated our most advanced aerodynamic technology in the design of the Nissan IDS Concept.”

The height of the full carbon fibre body was constrained to 1,380 mm, sharply minimising aerodynamic drag (Cd). Positioning the tyres close to the corners of the body maximises interior space while enabling a wrap-around cabin design. Nissan selected large-diameter wheels for high-performance and sportiness, but used very thin 175-size tyres to minimise air and roll resistance. The wheels have a layered design suggestive of thin fins that create tiny vortexes of air flow on the wheel’s surface. This design further contributes to smooth air flow.

The icicle pattern on the Nissan IDS Concept's grille symbolises a pure and clean design – perfect for an EV. Shaped like a stack of ice blocks, the grille pattern appears transparent. The car's bluish satin silver body colour heightens the impression of a comfortable and secure cabin space.

Highly evolved EV technology for long-distance driving
At Nissan's annual shareholders meeting in June, Executive Vice President Hideyuki Sakamoto said: “Our zero emission strategy centres on EVs. We are pursuing improved electric powertrain technologies, such as motors, batteries and inverters, which will enable us to mass produce and market EVs that equal or surpass the convenience of petrol-powered cars.”

The Nissan IDS Concept is fitted with a high-capacity 60 kWh battery, and thanks to its outstanding aerodynamics, low stance, flowing form and reduced weight due to its full-carbon-fibre body, the vehicle is designed to also meet the need to drive long distances. Other technologies on the Nissan IDS Concept include Piloted Park that can be operated by smartphone or tablet, and wireless charging technologies. Through these, the driver can leave parking and charging to the car.

Nissan’s targets – Zero traffic fatalities and zero emissions
In order for our car-based society to be sustainable, complex issues ranging from sustainable energy supplies to climate change, air pollution and traffic safety must be addressed. At Nissan, we have set zero fatalities and zero emissions as aspirational targets in our mission to help create a sustainable car-based society.

Over 90% of traffic accidents are caused by human error. Nissan IDS Concept's extensive system of sensors and AI are designed to provide enhanced safety performance compared to a human driver. This technology brings us a step closer to the goal of zero traffic fatalities.

EVs produce no CO2 emissions and their batteries can store energy from renewable sources and turn it into electricity for homes and buildings. As the number of EVs increases, entire communities will be able to harness their power as part of a sustainable energy plan. Then, as EVs come to play a central role in energy supply, we will come that much closer to becoming a zero emission society.

Nissan believes that the Nissan IDS Concept will evolve into a leading innovation for next generation mobility and our quest for making these “two zeroes” a reality.

Featuring Nissan’s most advanced safety, driving-control and EV technology – all taken to a new level by AI – the Nissan IDS Concept is a compelling showcase of a promising future.

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