Nissan has developed two new systems that will communicate safety and fuel-efficiency information to the driver through force feedback of the pedals and steering wheel. The first is called side collision prevention. This system uses a millimeter-wave radar to monitor the blind-spot, the area just to the rear of the car where other vehicles and objects can’t easily be seen. The system will indicate the presence of an object with a small light in the wing mirror. In addition to the millimeter system it also uses a camera and measures the distance between lanes. This information is combined to detect that a vehicle is approaching from behind and also that the driver is going to change lanes. When the driver attempts to switch lanes with a car in the blind spot a warning will sound and the steering wheel will gently resist.
The side collision prevention is intended to make driving safer. Two of these are already available in some Nissan vehicles, distance control assist eases back the accelerator and applies the brake if you get to close to the vehicle in front. Also, departure control monitors the road and provides a warning if you being drifting out of your lane.
The fourth system is back up collision prevention. This system watches for objects coming into the car’s path when reversing. This system will be demonstrated at the ITS World Congress, in New York in November.
Nissan is also applying basic technology to make driving more fuel efficient. The Eco-pedal system is tied into a computer that monitors the car’s fuel consumption and transmission efficiency during acceleration. When in the eco-driving range, a signal in the dashboard illuminates. It will begin to flash if the car starts moving out of the optimum zone and turns orange when the vehicle is being driven inefficiently. The accelerator pedal will also gently push back the pedal to indicate that the driver should ease back to increase efficiency. By using this system, fuel efficiency can be improved by between 5 percent and 10 percent.