Safe Sells: Nissan Introduces Latest Advanced Safety Vehicle

The Nissan boffins in Tokyo have introduced a new version of the ongoing safety-vehicle test bed. It's the ASV-4, based on a car we know in the US as the Infiniti M35 (aka Nissan Fuga). They've upped the tech ante, adding vehicle-to-vehicle communications that can alert a driver of potential threats to their motoring safety. Of course, the major limitation is that the vehicles must all be fitted with Nissan's own nav system. But should Nissan-on-Nissan action get too hot on the interstates, we totally have a place to turn for help now. Snotrageous commentary aside, this is one of those ideas only insurance companies and open-source software devotees could love. We hear the auto-body lobby is up in arms.

Press Release:

NISSAN DEVELOPS FOURTH-GENERATION NISSAN ADVANCED SAFETY VEHICLE
- Advanced vehicle-to-vehicle communications to help reduce accidents -

TOKYO (Sept. 27, 2007)— Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has developed its fourth-generation Advanced Safety Vehicle, known as the Nissan ASV-4. Based on the Advanced Safety Vehicle (ASV*1) Promotion Plan by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the vehicle is designed to help reduce accidents by employing advanced vehicle-to-vehicle communications*2. Nissan will use the Nissan ASV-4 to test various technologies in preparation for commercial application.

The Nissan ASV-4 warning system employs vehicle-to-vehicle communications to alert the driver to take defensive actions in situations where an on-coming vehicle is not yet visible, but poses a potential threat to road safety. While the system will be tested using real-time navigation information, it currently has some limitations because it is dependent on information received from vehicles equipped with the Nissan navigation system, therefore participating drivers must remain alert to other vehicles on the road that the system is unable to detect. The preventive safety technologies deployed on the Nissan ASV-4 were developed to address specific high-risk scenarios that account for approximately 60%*3 of traffic accidents in Japan.

Cumulative data on traffic accidents reveal that most accidents occur within the following circumstances:

* Two vehicle collisions at blind-intersections
* A right-turning vehicle hit by on-coming vehicle from the opposite direction at an intersection
* Broadside of a motorcycle or bicycle by a left-turning vehicle
* Rear-end collision

The driver can both hear and see the warnings issued by the navigation system when a potentially dangerous situation has been identified.

For example, as the vehicle approaches an intersection or attempts a right turn, the system can warn the driver of the potential danger with an on-coming vehicle as it accelerates after a stop, even when the driver fails to notice.

Nissan will participate in Phase Four of the Advanced-Safety Vehicle project an initiative under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The company is also leading the ITS (Intelligent Transportation System) project in Kanagawa prefecture*4, involving customers' vehicle participation, where the system is fed traffic data via links to traffic infrastructure (e.g. using beacons). Another on-going project employs telematics via cellular phones to improve traffic flow and reduce traffic congestion. To help reduce vehicle-pedestrian accidents, Nissan has developed an ITS system based on cellular communications between pedestrians and drivers, and is refining its information system to allow the driver to receive an alert on an unseen pedestrian.

Nissan continues to accelerate the development of its advanced ITS-based accident-prevention technologies for commercial application. In Japan, the company's safety vision is to halve the number of traffic fatalities or serious injuries involving Nissan vehicles by 2015 compared with the level in 1995.

1.ASV is a project under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Nissan has participated in Phase One (1991-1995), Phase Two (1996-2000) and Phase Three (2001-2005) as well as the next Phase Four starting in 2007. The Nissan ASV-4 was developed as Phase Four of this project.

2.Vehicle-to-vehicle communications enable vehicles with wireless terminals to communicate with one another about to share information including location and route direction.

3.Source: Cumulative accidents estimated by Nissan ASV-4 project.

4.ITS project in Kanagawa prefecture is an ongoing project designed to reduce traffic accidents and traffic congestion by using advanced Intelligent Transport System technologies.