CES this year has seen an immense emphasis being laid on self-driving technologies. However, the focus of tech/automotive giants has shifted away from developing a full-fledged connected car to supporting platforms that will further enhance the efforts of connected mobility. Nissan is one such automaker who is aggressively working on the same.
It is today following Nvidia, who showed off an AI-powered self-driving companion for your connected car called Co-Pilot at its press event yesterday. But Nissan at a press conference in Las Vegas has unveiled a different concept that follows the same basic principles – helping the driver.
Since today’s autonomous vehicles aren’t self-sufficient and require the driver to stay in control and pay attention to the control, Nissan has birthed a solution to help the car. Called Seamless Autonomous Mobility system or SAM, this artificial intelligence-driven system will enable the connected vehicle to detect and handle unpredictable situations without any help from the driver.
To understand the functioning of Nissan’s smart mobility system from scratch, we’ll need to imagine a real on-road scenario. For example, you’re driving through the streets and encounter an accident, where the traffic authorities are signaling the vehicles to follow some different track than the usual roads. This could include instructions to cross double yellow lines or moving against traffic lights. The software won’t
The autonomous software won’t budge from its position as it has been taught not to violate these instructions — thanks to data collected via sensors and cameras. This is where SAM will come into action. Once such a situation is detected, the vehicle will come to a stand still and it requests help from the command center.
With SAM, the autonomous vehicle becomes smart enough to know when it should not attempt to negotiate the problem by itself, as in this instance. Instead, it brings itself to a safe stop and requests help from the command center.
This request is immediately routed to an available mobility manager who’ll gain access to sensors, LIDAR and camera data from your car to access. They’ll then decide on the correct action, and create a safe path around the obstruction — painting a virtual path for these vehicles to continue on. Once through this rough patch, the vehicle reassumes fully autonomous operations. Also, since these self-driving vehicles are connected to a central nervous system, the mobility manager will update other Nissan vehicles in their vicinity with the new routes as well. The official blog post says,
As this is all happening, other autonomous vehicles in the area are also communicating with SAM. The system learns and shares the new information created by the Mobility Manager. Once the solution is found, it’s sent to the other vehicles.
During its presentation, CEO Carlos Ghosn using a link-up to their Silicon Valley research facility demonstrated SAM’s functionality to the live audience. It displayed how the said mobility system will activate and ensure that the driver has a smooth ride through the city streets.