At the Tokyo Motor Show 2015, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. unveiled a concept vehicle that embodies Nissan’s vision of the future of autonomous driving and zero emission EVs: the Nissan IDS Concept.
Nissan Intelligent Driving is Nissan’s concept of autonomous drive technology and represents what Nissan believes next-generation vehicles should be. “Nissan Intelligent Driving improves a driver’s ability to see, think and react. It compensates for human error, which causes more than 90 percent of all car accidents. As a result, time spent behind the wheel is safer, cleaner, more efficient and more fun,” continued Ghosn.
Some have compared a future with autonomous drive to living in a world of conveyer belts that simply ferry people from point A to B, but the Nissan IDS Concept promises a very different vision of tomorrow. Even when the driver selects Piloted Drive and turns over driving to the vehicle, the car's performance – from accelerating to braking to cornering – imitates the driver’s own style and preferences.
In Manual Drive mode, the driver has control. The linear acceleration and cornering are pure and exhilarating. Yet behind the scenes, the Nissan IDS Concept continues to provide assistance. Sensors continually monitor conditions and assistance is available even while the driver is in control. In the event of imminent danger, Nissan IDS Concept will assist the driver in taking evasive action.
In addition to learning, the Nissan IDS Concept's AI communicates like an attentive partner. From information concerning traffic conditions, the driver’s schedule to personal interests, Nissan IDS Concept’s AI has what is needed to help create a driving experience that is comfortable, enjoyable and safe.
Even though it is a hatchback, the Nissan IDS Concept’s long wheelbase enables comfortable seating space for four adults. But the cabin becomes even more spacious when the driver selects Piloted Drive. In this mode, the steering wheel recedes into the centre of the instrument panel and a large flat screen comes out. Various driving-related operations are handled by AI, voice and gestures from the driver. The interior, which comprises natural materials such as mesh leather, is illuminated by soft light. All four seats rotate slightly inward, facilitating easier conversation. It’s like relaxing in a living room.
When the driver selects Manual Drive, the roomy interior transforms to put the driver in control. All seats face forward. The steering wheel, which takes styling cues from reins for horse riding, appears along with driving meters and a heads-up display that shows route and other driving information. Interior lighting switches to blue, stimulating the ability to concentrate. Nissan's use of hollow-structure A-pillars helps ensure excellent visibility by reducing blind spots and also contributes to the feeling of open space.
Design Director Mitsunori Morita says: “By the time Nissan Intelligent Driving technology is available on production cars, EVs will be able to go great distances on a single charge. Getting to this point will, of course, require the further evolution of batteries, but aerodynamic performance is also very important. We incorporated our most advanced aerodynamic technology in the design of the Nissan IDS Concept.”
The height of the full carbon fibre body was constrained to 1,380 mm, sharply minimising aerodynamic drag (Cd). Positioning the tyres close to the corners of the body maximises interior space while enabling a wrap-around cabin design. Nissan selected large-diameter wheels for high-performance and sportiness, but used very thin 175-size tyres to minimise air and roll resistance. The wheels have a layered design suggestive of thin fins that create tiny vortexes of air flow on the wheel’s surface. This design further contributes to smooth air flow.
The icicle pattern on the Nissan IDS Concept's grille symbolises a pure and clean design – perfect for an EV. Shaped like a stack of ice blocks, the grille pattern appears transparent. The car's bluish satin silver body colour heightens the impression of a comfortable and secure cabin space.
The Nissan IDS Concept is fitted with a high-capacity 60 kWh battery, and thanks to its outstanding aerodynamics, low stance, flowing form and reduced weight due to its full-carbon-fibre body, the vehicle is designed to also meet the need to drive long distances. Other technologies on the Nissan IDS Concept include Piloted Park that can be operated by smartphone or tablet, and wireless charging technologies. Through these, the driver can leave parking and charging to the car.