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"All-around collision free" car - the next evolution for safety

Here's a surprising fact: every year, the number of fatalities in Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States resulting from automobile accidents goes down. Yes, you read that right. There is...

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Blind Spot Detection Technology

Blind Spot Intervention
Blind Spot Intervention
Safety Shield Concept technology helps protect not just from threats in the front but also from the sides and rear, helping to provide all-around protection. Its "Blind Spot Intervention" system senses a risk approaching from the sides of the car, assisting drivers in changing lanes on the highway. So-called "blind spots" are areas around the car that cannot be seen from the side and rear-view mirrors.

Blind Spot Intervention is a system that helps alert the driver when vehicles are in the vehicle's blind spot areas and issues a warning if the driver attempts to change lanes in such a situation. Two millimeter wave radar units installed on either side of the rear bumper scan for vehicles entering the detection zones on either side of the car, alerting the driver to their presence by illuminating a light on the windshield pillar. If the driver starts to change lanes, the system sounds an alarm. In addition, the brakes are activated to try to help keep the driver from changing lanes, similar to the Lane Departure Prevention system, helping to alert the driver to the threat within the blind spot area.

Analysis of how causes of accidents differ by country

The Blind Spot Intervention and Lane Departure systems were introduced in the North American market before the Japanese market. In North America, a typical case when driving on the highway was that of an unseen car suddenly honking at the driver who was trying to change lanes. On the other hand, a large number of traffic accidents in Japan involve rear-end collisions. Because of this, the Intelligent Pedal system, which anticipates the effects of rear-end collisions, was first introduced on the Japanese market.

Because the causes and risk factors that lead to traffic accidents differ from country to country, safety technology is introduced to those countries in a different order and following different priorities. Starting in 2002, Nissan analyzed actual causes of traffic accidents worldwide to learn how to best make use of safety features, and devised a "Real World Safety" plan. Based on this plan, they introduced safety features tailored to the needs of the actual driving conditions in target markets, thus succeeding in helping to reduce the number of accident injuries and fatalities.

Active safety technology features that help protect the car on all sides

Backup Collision Intervention
Backup Collision Intervention
In the near future, Nissan hopes to become the first to introduce a "Backup Collision Intervention" system for cars. This system continually monitors the area to the rear of the car in order to help avoid backup collisions. It combines high frequency sonar with the Blind Spot Intervention system's millimeter radar beacons on the left and right sides of the rear bumper, examining obstacles to the rear of the car as well as vehicles and objects encroaching on either side of it, and helping to alert the driver to their presence.

The Backup Collision Intervention technology is mainly intended for use while pulling into and out of spots in parking lots. Parking lots are characterized by a mix of various risk factors for accidents; people pushing shopping carts and walking around, and cars cruising slowly as the driver looks for an open parking spot. When sensors detect such obstacles and determine them to be near to the car, it automatically provides a warning and applies the brakes, alerting the driver to the danger that is present. When this Backup Collision Intervention system is implemented, it will be a system that senses risks from all directions, helping to provide active safety.

Supporting safety by extending human capabilities

These technologies all give precedence to the driver in operating the car. Indeed, a characteristic of Nissan's safety features is that they prioritize the driver's actions. The system that imposes automatic controls is the "Intelligent Brake Assist". This system automatically applies emergency braking upon detecting an unavoidable collision, regardless of how hard the driver hits the brakes or turns the wheel.

However, the function of Intelligent Brake Assist is limited to situations where an accident is imminent. A feature such as Intelligent Pedal may help alert the driver to a risk before an accident becomes unavoidable and Intelligent Brake Assist functions by forcing the car to brake, the system respects the will of the driver and uses this feature as a last resort .

"These technologies are not a system for automatically avoiding accidents, but a way of thinking about technology to help extend human capabilities," says Mr.Yahagi. "The car itself acts like a sensor that helps augment the human driver's senses and helps prevent traffic accidents before they occur by alerting the driver to approaching risks. Moving forward, we're seeking to develop more accurate sensing technology that will communicate between other cars on the road and the surrounding infrastructure, and in doing so we hope eventually to be able to reduce the number of accidents to nearly zero."
Satoru Yahagi

Expert leader in the IT and ITS Engineering Department, in charge of the Vehicle Timetable system. After joining Nissan, he spent 10 years developing braking systems before taking on his current post. He works at the cutting edge of automobile technology, but his great love is the S30 Ferrari that rests quietly in the garage of his home - he says 'rests quietly' because it sound good - actually, the engine doesn't work...