Once a futuristic dream, autonomous vehicles (AVs) are morphing from an abstract concept into a very tangible reality.

Crossover EV concepts with twin electric motors, powerful acceleration and award-winning driver assistance technology illustrate how the new Nissan Ariya Concept, signals the dawn of a new era for evolutionary phase of the automobile. It offers a spacious, premium cabin with high-tech features and a body that conveys the pure, clean nature of electric cars. Further, it embodies the Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision of personal transportation, where electrification and vehicle intelligence will enable seamless and adaptive travel experiences free of accidents or harmful emissions.

This zero-emission crossover isn’t a concept car based on far-off ideas; it’s a showcase of technologies available in the very near term. In order to fully embrace this technology and harness its true potential, infrastructure challenges – such as potholes and unclear and / or damaged road markings must be addressed. But the potential benefits of AV technology are manifold. Increased uptake of AVs could reduce accidents, traffic congestion and CO2 emissions. The technology also offers motorists lower fuel consumption and reduced travel time. And lays the foundations for improved public transport systems.

‘Human factors’ have been identified as the primary reason for more than 75 percent of all fatal road accidents in South Africa. AV technology represents one way in which to mitigate against the risk of these human factors. It doesn’t get tired or distracted, nor does it deviate from the rules of the road. It can also detect what might not and be able to and react more quickly.

Nissan Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM) and ProPILOT

Nissan’s Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM) system combines in-vehicle artificial intelligence (AI) with remote human support to help AVs make the best possible decisions in unpredictable situations and navigate unanticipated obstacles.

Meanwhile, ProPILOT – a revolutionary autonomous drive technology designed for highway use in single-lane traffic – employs advanced image-processing technology to understand road and traffic situations, and to execute precise steering. It’s also extremely user-friendly and is activated and deactivated using a switch on the steering wheel.

AVs represent the future of the automotive industry and will also contribute significantly to the revenue of growth of various industries such as technology and electronics. Deloitte’s 2019 Global Automotive Consumer Study revealed that consumers are willing to pay extra for connected technologies.

Autonomous vehicles have the potential to reduce accidents, reduce CO2 emissions are more efficient and are something that all South Africans should explore embracing.

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