Nissan may soon add a low-cost trim level to the Leaf EV lineup, but those aren’t the only plans the automaker has for its all-electric hatchback. At this year’s CEATEC Japan technology conference, Nissan is demonstrating an automated version of the Leaf dubbed NSC-2015, which is capable of parking itself and picking you up at the push of a button.
Unlike other self-driving cars that use GPS to get around, the NSC-2015 relies on a remote monitoring system based on an all-around view camera and 4G mobile communications. Nissan says this method provides precise recognition of the vehicle’s surroundings and, perhaps more importantly, works even when communication to the satellite network is interrupted -- as is often the case in underground parking structures.
Through a smartphone app, the car can be told to park itself. The EV will then seek out a vacant parking spot and pull itself in. While parked, a security camera system monitors the vehicle’s surrounding environment. If any suspicious activity is detected, a report is automatically sent to the driver’s smartphone. Just as easily as it parked itself, the NSC-2015 can return to pick you up when called.
Nissan says the overall goal of the project was to reduce the chance of human error, which it says is the cause of 90 percent of all accidents, to as close to zero as possible. Another objective, however, was to reduce the time spent looking for parking. As the car’s name implies, the NSC-2015 will be fully viable by 2015, Nissan claims.