The ProPILOT golf ball, a concept based on Nissan’s ProPILOT 2.0 driver-assistance technology, is guaranteed to find the hole on the first putt, every time, regardless of how bad your aim is or whether you hit the ball hard enough or too hard. In every case, it will automatically make all of the course corrections needed to put the ball in the hole.
Here’s how it works: A camera with a clear overhead view detects where the ball is in relation to the cup. When the ball—which has a built-in electric motor—is hit, a monitoring system calculates the correct route to the cup and adjusts its trajectory. Then, just like the autonomous driving features that keep a car following the road while driving, the golf ball stays on the correct route until dropping into the hole, according to the automaker.
Featured in the new Nissan Skyline, sold in the U.S. as the Infiniti Q50, ProPilot 2.0 driver-assistance technology utilizes Renesas’ R-Car automotive system-on-chip (SoC) and RH850 automotive control microcontroller (MCU) to implement self-driving functionality in the electronic control units (ECUs) that handle driving judgment and response.
Designed for on-ramp to off-ramp highway driving, ProPILOT 2.0, a Level 3 autonomous drive system, engages with the vehicle’s navigation system to help maneuver the car according to a predefined route on designated roadways. For the first time on a Nissan vehicle, the system also enables hands-off driving while cruising in a single lane.
How Does It Work?
Compared to the current ProPILOT system, available in models like the 2019 Altima sedan, the next generation of ProPilot uses a wider range of sensors: seven cameras, five radar sensors, and 12 sonar sensors combined with a 3D high-definition mapping navigation system. The system creates a 360-degree image of the car’s surroundings. The technology can pinpoint the car's location to within five centimeters, according to Nissan.
ProPILOT 2.0 can maintain the vehicle’s lane position and adjust steering, braking, and acceleration to suit driving conditions. If the system detects a slower vehicle up ahead, it uses its sensor array to determine if it’s safe to pass. Visual and audio cues are relayed to the driver, letting him/her know when it’s safe to attempt a passing maneuver.
When the car has determined it’s safe to pass, the driver can agree by placing both hands on the steering wheel and activating a steering wheel-mounted switch. Upon the driver's confirmation, the vehicle will move into the passing lane.
Nissan's ProPILOT golf ball is the latest in a series of concepts inspired by Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies. Nissan’s “self-parking” slippers, tables, and floor cushions combine the traditional hospitality of a Japanese inn with autonomous driving technology.
At first glance, the ProPILOT ryokan looks like any other traditional Japanese inn. Slippers are neatly lined up at the foyer, where guests remove their shoes. Tatami rooms are furnished with low tables and floor cushions for sitting. What sets this ryokan apart is that the slippers, tables, and cushions are rigged with a special version of Nissan's ProPILOT Park autonomous parking technology. When not in use, they automatically return to their designated spots at the push of a button.
Nissan's self-parking slippers.
Similarly, the self-driving office chairs that Nissan previously demonstrated also are meant to give drivers a better sense of how an autonomous driving system will work. Called the "Intelligent Parking Chair," the concept is inspired by Nissan’s intelligent park-assist technology that allows drivers to park their vehicles using automatic steering.
The chair includes a roller to help it rotate 360 degrees paired with a system that indicates the target position. Four cameras placed on the room's ceiling generate a bird's-eye view to wirelessly transmit the chair's position and its route to a destination. With this innovation in office technology, Japanese businessmen are now freed from the sometimes troublesome task of arranging chairs for meetings.