Nissan introduced intelligent vehicle towing

This week is exiting for the autonomous driving, and the refreshment is coming from the Nissan and its Oppama Plant. It is not only that the producer is preparing the intelligent autonomous driving vehicles for the roads, they have decided to use its self-driving Leaf for towing.

A pair of Leafs are outfitted to tow other cars, all on their own. About 30 completed vehicles each day from the plant site to a shipping port, less than a mile away. Each Leaf makes five trips a day on average, pulling three cars at a time.

Leafs using data to safety travel without additional infrastructure

Each Leaf is using a combination of information gathered with the help of cameras, laser scanners and pre-loaded map data in order to make safely travel within the route without additional infrastructure.

The central traffic control system which oversees each car’s location, speed, battery life and operational status, also allows modifying course of the vehicles on the run.  That’s typical shuttle systems which require either rails or magnetic tape to guide the trollies, but Nissan showed on the video released on Monday it can be done differently.

It’s obvious that Nissan believes autonomous driving will deliver benefits ranging from safer streets to more efficient commuting. Real proof for their business philosophy is that before even the testos of self-driving vehicles on the roads, towing system is going to find usage within the internal shipping system in the factory.

The two Leaf transport vehicles make an average of five trips a day, Nissan said. The plant produces about 1,000 vehicles a day.The idea of using its flagship electric vehicle as a beast of burden is more a technology exercise than a strategy to improve factory workflow.

Company executives are saying that reducing the intelligent towing system’s cost is still huge obstacle that needs to be crossed. “We have come to realize once again how difficult it is to deal with driverless systems. There are many things we can learn from these experiences” Nissan Vice President Kazuhiro Doi said.

Nissan’s goal is to have a fleet of seven self-driving Leafs in operation by 2019. The company reckons that would be enough to move all of the cars produced each day by Oppama. If the system works, Nissan says it may introduce it at other plants.

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