Nissan highlighted its Intelligent Driving System or Nissan IDS Concept at the Tokyo Motorshow, playing to the call of the event to showcase autonomous drive as well as electric drivetrains
Most new concept cars are focussed on highlighting the latest advances in technology. But when that discussion comes to powertrains, the participants are largely electric traction based. Admittedly, hydrogen fuel cells seem to be coming back with a bang, but as Nissan’s IDS (Intelligent Driving System) concept shows, you don’t have to deviate too much from today’s best in class to achieve your goals.
The Nissan IDS Concept takes the electric drive system from the brand’s Leaf electric vehicle and advances the concept further placing a 60 kWh battery in the car that should give it a range of almost 300km.
But that isn’t the real huge leap forward. That comes in the form of a carbon-fibre construction body built to accommodate four chairs that can swivel around in order to give the occupants a feel of being in a living room. The seats are arranged in the traditional two by two configuration of a normal car, but the seats are motorised and the two seats in the front swivel all the way around to face the rear seats.
For this the driver has to select piloted drive mode – the steering wheel that is available in Manual mode then recedes into the dashboard and a large monitor comes out to show all the parameters.
In many ways, the IDS takes Nissan a step closer to its goal of introducing their 1.0 version of piloted drive in production models this year. The system is set to be launched in the orderly traffic systems of Japan, to be later moved into markets in Europe, China and the US.
In terms of design, the IDS concept takes the purity of form that the EV platform affords and avoids making it a bland shell. The carbon-fibre structure displays the form of a hatchback, but the large wheelbase with the wheels thrust as far out into the corners as possible make it easier to accommodate the needs of the cabin. Typical Nissan cues remain, like the prominent fascia. But the view is dominated by the huge panoramic glass roof that puts the interiors on display.
The dashboard is very influenced by current trends as well as traditional Japanese idiom. Wood and nature blend into future materials, with the central display lording over the cabin .
In manual mode, the interior reverts to a traditional layout, putting the control back in the hands of the driver.
The company is at pains to stress the importance of communication in the idea of the IDS concept. They expect the car to transmit information to the driver and the driver talks back to the car.
“A key point behind the Nissan IDS Concept is communication. For autonomous drive to become reality, as a society we have to consider not only communication between car and driver but also between cars and people. The Nissan IDS Concept’s design embodies Nissan’s vision of autonomous drive as expressed in the phrase together, we ride,” says Mitsunori Morita, Design Director. The car also speaks to the world around it, through an LED strip that forms the side bodyline and serves as a means to let pedestrians know that the car has sensed them as well as a panel at the front windshield that actually flashes out messages to others, like “After You”.
The artificial intelligence built into the car is able to handle voice instructions as well as gestures, which would make for an interesting combination in a real-life situation.
“In every situation, it is about giving the driver more choices and greater control.” Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn said at the show.