Nissan Motor Co. introduced driver-assist features that enable its newest minivan to handle some highway driving on its own, just as a similar system from electric-car maker Tesla Motors Inc. comes under scrutiny following a number of crashes.The technology, available in the new Serena model on sale in Japan next month, renders the minivan capable of accelerating, braking and navigating highway stop-and-go traffic in a single lane.
Called ProPilot, the system sends warnings when drivers take their hands off the wheel and will eventually disable if the prompts are ignored for a few seconds.Japan s Transport Ministry said last week dealers selling cars with driver-assist functions should remind consumers of their limits, noted Tesla s Autopilot system isn t fully autonomous and said drivers should be responsible in the event of accidents.
The U.S. s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to announce guidelines as soon as this month that will set some parameters for self-driving cars.
Single-lane autopilot style automated driving should be a noteworthy feature in mass market segments at this point in time where these technologies are still quite nascent in any segment, said Jeremy Carlson, a Los Angeles-based analyst for IHS Automotive.
Nissan has also been clearer than most in how they intend to bring that technology to market and describe precisely what it will do, and that is something that many mass market competitors have not always communicated very clearly.
For a quick guide on driverless cars, click here.Regulators are scrutinizing Tesla s similar Autopilot technology after an Ohio man died when he and his Model S sedan failed to react to an 18-wheeler crossing a Florida road in May.Pennsylvania State Police have since cited the driver of a Tesla Model X involved in a July 1 crash that may have involved Autopilot technology for careless driving, according to a report released Monday.