Nissan develops its R&D, with the concept of "Trusted Driving Pleasure" in mind for its customers. Recently, we hosted the "2008 Advance Technology Briefing" for media, investors and analysts. The event detailed the company's progress in R&D and showcased Nissan's advanced safety and environmental technologies that will be introduced in upcoming products, as well as advanced technologies that are currently in development. The following is a summary of the event.
Part 1. What is the Advance Technology Briefing?
Trusted Driving Pleasure consists of the four strategies in the following technical areas: environment, safety, dynamic performance and life on board*. Nissan developed a ten-year plan in fiscal year 2005, known as "Vision 2015", with specific targets and road maps for each of these strategies.
New technologies are the result of R&D and are introduced with new products launches. As such, technologies under development are rarely showcased. Consequently, it is difficult to communicate to consumers and investors Nissan's R&D long-term objectives and convince them that the company has the technological advances that will contribute to the achievement of those objectives.
Therefore, the Advance Technology Briefing is held regularly in order to communicate the company's development in the field of technology. The event offers perspectives for the short and long term. For the short-term, the event showcases technologies that are scheduled for introduction in a few years for its vehicles. For the long-term, the event presents the company's principles for technology and how that is utilized to create technologies for future commercialization, as well as the research and advanced development of potential technologies for the achievement of Nissan's R&D long-term objectives.
In 2007, Nissan opened the GRANDRIVE test course that is located beside the Oppama Plant in Kanagawa Prefecture. The GRANDRIVE is not only for test drives, but is used for other purposes. For example, dealership staff drive new models prior to their launch at the GRANDRIVE. Through the GRANDRIVE, they are able to capture the true essence of Nissan vehicles, which in turn develops their marketing abilities. The GRANDRIVE is also used for experimental vehicles that cannot be driven on public roads. The Advance Technology Briefing was held at the GRANDRIVE in 2007 and 2008.
- * Life on board refers to the entire driver experience, which is entering the vehicle, preparing to drive, driving and finally exiting the vehicle.
Part 2. Safety Technologies
At the 2008 Advance Technology Briefing, exhibitions on safety and environmental technologies were presented as described below.
- presentation and exhibition -
1. Attitude to safety
By 2015, Nissan aims to reduce the number of fatal and serious injuries, from accidents involving Nissan vehicles, in Japan by half from 1995. Through the analysis of real-life accidents, Nissan has been working to design and engineer safer vehicles.
Furthermore, Nissan has been developing advanced and active technological innovations, including the Safety Shield concept. Under this concept, the vehicle activates various shields dependent on various circumstances from normal driving to post-accident conditions. This helps deter the frequency of dangerous situations.
2. The Around View Monitor with Parking Guide (technology for normal driving conditions)
- Test drive of vehicle equipped with the Around View Monitor with parking guide -
The Around View Monitor displays an image of the vehicle from the above. This in turn assists the driver to visually confirm the vehicle's relation to its parking space. This technology was first introduced in the Elgrand in 2007 and has been well-received. At the Advance Technology Briefing, we announced the improved Around View Monitor, which added a parking guide system.
- Fig.1 Image at the start of parking -
- Fig.2 Image during parking -
This parking guide system displays the birds-eye view that instructs the driver when to reverse and where to make a three-point turn. This enables the driver to park the vehicle intuitively (Fig.1). The super-wide angle/high resolution camera creates a clear and virtual image of the forecasted course that is linked to the turning of the handle (Fig.2).
With such advanced technologies, I asked one of the staff why the vehicle doesn't park itself automatically. The attendant responded that at this stage, it is the driver's responsibility to drive a vehicle. However, the company has been advancing R&D and will consider implementing the idea based on potential demand, cost and vehicle weight.