Nissan launches ProPILOT 2.0 with hands-free highway driving

The technology will first debut in the Japanese-market Nissan Skyline.

Nissan has unveiled a new version of its ProPILOT driver assist system that allows for hands-free highway driving. For the time being, the new technology will be limited to Nissan's home market of Japan.

Nissan't latest version of ProPILOT will be offered first in the company's Skyline, which is sold in the United States as the Infiniti Q50. Nissan says self-driving Skylines will arrive on the market this fall.

The system is designed for highway driving and requires a final destination to be entered into the vehicle's navigation system. Using high-definition map data, along with input from the vehicle's various cameras and sensors, ProPILOT 2.0 is capable of keeping the vehicle centered in its lane and a set distance from the vehicle ahead without any input from the driver.

However, the system isn't fully autonomous. Similar to Cadillac's Super Cruise system, ProPILOT 2.0 uses a driver monitoring system to ensure the driving is paying attention at all time. If the system detects the driver isn't focused on the road ahead, ProPILOT will attempt to get the driver's attention with audio and visual warnings. If no action is taken, the system will eventually disengage.

Unlike Super Cruiser, however, ProPILOT does include an aid for lane changes. When approaching a slower vehicle, the system automatically determines if there is sufficient room to pass. If there is, the system will alert the driver, at which time the driver can initiate the pass by placing both hands on the wheel (a Japanese regulation) and hitting a switch.

At least in the interim, ProPILOT 2.0 will be exclusively to the Japanese market. However, it should be only a matter of time until the technology appears in the U.S., where Nissan markets its driver assistance technologies as ProPILOT Assist.

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