Finally, an automaker has boldly stepped up to address one of society's perpetual problems: driving the wrong way on freeways.
Nissan has partnered with West NEXCO (one of the main operators of expressways and toll roads in Japan) to design an IT-assisted road information system that can alert drivers when the car is going the wrong way on an expressway.
Although such situations are fairly uncommon in the U.S., they're a growing issue on Japanese roads. Nissan cites the increase in senior citizen drivers as one reason for the frequent wrong-way accidents.
The system takes advantage of the multipurpose functionality of today's cell phones. The phones will communicate with a GPS-based database, which can provide information about many dangerous situations and conditions. The system can also notify drivers of unintended speed changes on ramps and long downhill stretches. Nissan says the warnings are aimed at preventing accidents and congestion.
Since 1995, Nissan has been toying around with various driver information systems, but hopes it can implement a final iteration in future production cars. The company aims to reduce the number of accidents involving Nissan cars in half by 2015.