Japanese automobile major Nissan Motor has filed a series of patent applications on electronic devices to control and assist a driver of vehicles.
These include a calculation of the travel route, controlling of travel, self-calculation of the vehicle position and recognising traffic lights by using electronic devices.
The company recently described its plan to have commercially viable autonomous-drive vehicles on the road by 2020. It had earlier launched a semi-autonomous driving system in Japan and has been looking at doing so elsewhere.
The patent details filed with Indian authorities for approval include a device to calculate the travel route, with distance measurement, and methods to use the information on all four sides of a vehicle to avoid objects. Also, a position self- calculation device.
Another patent has been filed on a traffic signal detection device. And, for assisting of driving when a vehicle is changing lanes and for detecting objects around it.
A blog in the company's US website elaborates that it has been working alongside researchers from top universities such as MIT, Stanford, Oxford and the University of Tokyo, putting more than 80 combined years of research into the development of autonomous drive technology.
The company has been using technologies such as Nissan Safety Shield, which can see 360 degrees around a vehicle and alert for risk detected from all sides. It is now testing a prototype vehicle that could perform all typical driving maneuvres, and perhaps contribute to reducing of collisions due to human error or lack of attention. It is conducting real world testing of next-generation autonomous vehicle prototypes on roads in America, Europe, and Japan, it added.
"At Nissan, advances in AI (artificial intelligence) are making our vehicles smarter, more responsive, and better at making their own decisions. We are developing a vehicle that will be capable of autonomous driving on a single-lane highway in the near future. The next step will be a multi-lane highway, then city driving, and ultimately fully autonomous driving in all situations," added the company.
The company is utilising technology originally developed by Nasa, the US space exploration organisation, for a seamless, autonomous mobility system. The aim is to combine a vehicle's AI with human support to help an autonomous vehicle make decisions in unpredictable situations, said Nissan’s chairman of the board, Carlos Ghosn, at a recent event in America.
It has also partnered with the US department of defence on grid-based electric vehicle projects at military bases, using its all- electric Nissan LEAF vehicle. And, with Microsoft in developing advanced connected technologies like Microsoft Cortana, an in-vehicle virtual personal assistance. It is also collaborating with Bose Corporation, the audio specialists, to develop technology that increases situational awareness for drivers.