Wow! No driver needed!
Nissan Motor Company has come up with a fabulous concept with a rather dull-sounding name. It’s called Intelligent Vehicle Towing (IVT) – and it involves an electric Nissan Leaf that drives around the production plant … without a driver at the wheel of the car!
The IVT system has been implemented at the company’s Oppama plant, in Yokosuka, Japan. In terms of this system, a modified Leaf autonomously tows trollies carrying finished vehicles between designated loading and unloading points at the plant.
Impressively, this system does not need any special infrastructure to operate. The towing car is equipped with an array of cameras and laser scanners that detect lane markings, curbs and potential hazards around the vehicle.
By cross-referencing this information with map data, the towing car calculates its own location, negotiating the route to its destination unaided. The Leaf travels within the speed limits of the factory, and automatically stops if it detects an obstacle or hazard ahead, before setting off again after it has determined that the road ahead is clear.
All driverless towing cars are connected to a central traffic control system, which can monitor the location, driving speed, remaining battery and operational status of each vehicle. When two driverless towing cars meet at an intersection, the control system’s algorithm determines which car should be given right-of-way. And, in case of emergency, the system can stop the vehicles remotely.
Now ain’t that smart?