As the world inches closer and closer to driverless cars, Nissan released a video demonstration of their newest precrash system, the Autonomous Emergency Steering System.  It utilizes an arrangement of camera, laser, and radar sensors to detect objects around your car and avoid potential collisions by commandeering the steering wheel.

In other words, if your car thinks it can drive better than you then it takes control of the wheel.

Currently major car makers in Japan and Europe use sensors connecting to automatic braking systems to avoid impacts if the driver is too slow or can’t see an obstacle such as a dog.

This system takes the premise to the next phase.  In the case that even full braking can’t prevent you hitting something ahead the wheel will tear itself from your grip and make a perfect lane change to the nearest safe spot.

For example, if you’re driving along the freeway and there’s a traffic jam ahead, your car will sense it and go “beep beep beep” when you should start braking. Let’s say you can’t hear the beeping because you have your Korean rap up to eleven, and you can’t see the stationary car hurtling towards you because you’re tweeting about a funny bumper sticker you saw.

In that case the car will go “BEEP BEEP BEEP” signaling your last chance to steer yourself away, even indicating which way you should go. And if for some bizarre reason you are still oblivious to your imminent death the car will go “gimme the wheel ya jerk-off” in a New Jersey accent and drive itself safely into an open lane.

Alright, it doesn’t really say that but it should.

The system has a camera and two radar sensors mounted on the front of the car, along with five laser sensors all around the cars body.  This allows the car to instantly know a safe area to steer towards if needed.

In the video they also demonstrate the speed and sensitivity of the sensors by simulating a person jumping out from between parked cars.  This shows that even highly skilled drivers can be helped by this fast device in unpredictable situations.

As someone who loves driving, I’m not crazy about computers taking over the duties.  However, the benefit these systems can have for the disabled, elderly, and simply avoiding anyone’s tragedies makes them more than worthwhile.

Source: Nissan (English) via clicccar (Japanese)
Images: Nissan

The system’s sensor arrangement.

The sensors can be used for a variety of situations like parking.