On the Horizon: Game-Changing Semi-Autonomous Driving

In 2018, the Nissan introduced a new and improved model of the world’s top-selling electric vehicle: The Nissan Leaf EV. Besides the capability of traveling further on the road with a 150-mile range, the new Leaf EV has a stiffer chassis, better steering, and better design than previous models… and an option for semi-autonomous driving called ProPilot Assist. 

Semi-Autonomous Driving with ProPilot Assist by Nissan

While Nissan might be a little late to the semi-autonomous game, the ProPilot Assist is a feature that is on par with nearly every other automaker’s combination of lane-keep assistance and intelligent cruise control, along with a feature that parks the car for you.

ProPilot Parking is simple.  Activate the ProPilot Parking and wait for the vehicle’s sensors to recognize an empty space.  On the touchscreen, the driver selects the space and holds down the ProPilot Park button on the center console. The car then performs multi-point turns and maneuvers to successfully park the car.  This was tested in both parallel parking spaces and perpendicular spaces, working well. There are nuances the driver has control over – like how far away they want to be from the car in front of them and their position in the space. However, the car will only make 7 multi-point turns and maneuvers before the system shuts off and leaves the driver to park for themselves.  

semi-autonomous-driving-Nissan-Leaf

When it comes to the ProPilot Assist and adaptive, intelligent cruise control, the vehicle performed spectacularly on a highway setting.  Not built for windy backroads, the Leaf EV demonstrated an above-average performance, a good indication of how well they read lane markings.

Using a suite of sensors comprised of cameras on the front, back, and side mirrors, as well as 12 sonar sensors and radar system, the Leaf EV stays within its lane (even around turns) at or slightly above the speed limit, flowing with traffic.  During the test drive, the Leaf EV was placed in the same lane as other vehicles and cruise control was activated. The Leaf EV kept its distance, adjusting its speed accordingly. When the car in front slowed down and came to a stop, the Leaf also stopped.  On wet pavement, the Leaf can detect lane markings, however for safety, when the windshield wipers are turned on, the adaptive cruise control is turned off and the driver must take full control.

This is a huge upgrade from the previous models of the Nissan Leaf, and while some features have remained the same (and somewhat mediocre – like the center console), the impressive ProPilot Assist system option makes the Nissan Leaf EV a steady competitor with other EV models like the Honda Clarity EV and the Hyundai Ioniq EV.