Nissan previews a self-driving car

Hot on the heels of Google’s driverless car, Nissan last week debuted its own self-driving and parking car at the Ceatec exhibition in Japan.

According to an article on Nissan’s website, the advanced functions on the car are controlled from a smartphone. When the driver gets to his destination, rather than looking for a parking spot he can tap a “park in” button on his smartphone car app and leave the rest up to the car.

In automatic driving mode, the first thing the car needs is an accurate map of its surroundings. That’s fed over an LTE data link that the car relies upon for all its communications. Then the car pulls in images from four high-definition cameras placed around its body and attempts to recognise its location. This is a more accurate method than using GPS, according to Nissan. Once the car is sure of its location, it can move forward looking for a parking space. When it finds one, it parks itself. All the time, the driver can be away running errands. We’re not sure how it’s going to be able to read No Standing signs, but you can view the prototype car in action here.

Car makers around the world are beginning to experiment with self-driving cars, but it’s Google that is perhaps best known for the technology (view our previous article and video here). It has been testing a self-driving car system on California roads for some time and the state recently became one of a handful in the U.S. to formally recognise the cars in its laws.

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