You might’ve heard about Nissan’s new technology to prevent drunk driving — we blogged about it ourselves just yesterday. And cars that detect alcohol on board are nothing revolutionary: Toyota has been working on this for some time.
But today we learned some additional details on Nissan’s plans, thanks to the MIT Tech Review:
Some Nissan cars will soon come with a gas pedal that lifts to warn of possible collisions, while the cars will automatically stop if drivers take their foot off the accelerator in response to the warning.
The technology combines radar sensors and a computer system to assess a car’s speed and the distance to a vehicle in front, Nissan Motor Co. said Monday. Cars with the new safety features will be available this year in Japan, and next year in the U.S.
The idea was to make a car that judges dangers on its own like a friendly animal, so machine and driver can work together, said Nissan Senior Manager Yousuke Akatsu.
”It is almost like riding a horse, the way the rider can have a dialogue with the horse,” he said.
…More practical is the lane departure prevention technology, which swivels a car back into its lane if it swerves off. The lane technology is being offered later this year in the U.S. on the Infiniti EX luxury model.
Nissan also showed a dummy crash test to demonstrate bumper sensors that release a hinge to lift the engine hood slightly and soften the impact if a pedestrian is hit.
These are interesting, if marginally effective, measures. We worry that experienced drivers may freak if their gas pedal starts pressing back, or their car won’t change lanes. Could adaptive cars cause more accidents than they prevent?
More from Nissan…