New Nissan driver-assist tech helps the James May in you find his inner Stig

For the last century, automotive engineers have worked diligently to send Charles Darwin's concept of natural selection into obsolescence. It appears that we're inching closer to the time when any fool with a pulse may be able to climb behind the wheel of car and traverse a series of curves looking much more like the white-helmeted mystery driver from Top Gear than Captain Slow. The new Nissan Fuga (known here as the Infiniti M), debuting this fall at the Tokyo Motor Show, will feature fresh technology including new driver assistance systems.

In this case, Infiniti has integrated the GPS navigation system (hope those satellites hang in there) with the M's electronic stability control. As always, ESC uses inertial sensors to detect what the car is actually doing and compares that information to the actual driver inputs to see if they match. If not (i.e. understeer or oversteer) the brakes are individually applied at each wheel and engine torque may be reduced to help make the car go where the driver intended.

The GPS integration allows the system to detect where the road is going ahead and further manipulate the car, while alerting the driver to slow down by pushing the throttle back against his or her footn. Maybe it's all just a part of Nissan's master plan to save trees by preventing cars from being wrapped around them. Or perhaps we're just seeing the evolution of the Idiocracy. You can read the official PR from Nissan after the jump.

[Source: Nissan]


Nissan Develops Two New Driver-Assist Systems for Curvy Roads

- "Navigation-Cooperative Intelligent Pedal" and "Active Stability Assist" Aid Smooth Vehicle Operation and Help Reduce Driver Workload When Driving on Curvy Roads -

TOKYO (July 24) - Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. today announced the development of two advanced technologies designed to help drivers make smooth turns by synchronizing the vehicle's navigation, engine, braking and steering systems. By linking the existing Distance Control Assist System to navigation map data, the Navigation-Cooperative Intelligent Pedal can help the driver decelerate or brake as the car enters a curve based on real-time navigation information. Active Stability Assist helps control vehicle yaw moment, deceleration and braking on curves depending on driver demand. Both are designed to make driving more comfortable.

Distance Control Assist/Navigation-Cooperative Intelligent Pedal

The new Distance Control Assist system combines the distance control feature first introduced on the Nissan Fuga in December 2007 with the car's navigation system. Based on map information indicating a curve ahead, the system moves the accelerator pedal upward to assist the driver to release the accelerator pedal. Once the foot is lifted off the pedal, the system smoothly reduces vehicle speed by activating the brakes. This is the world's first driving assist system focused on reducing the driver's workload on curvy roads by integrating navigation, accelerator pedal, powertrain and brakes.

This system is scheduled for introduction on the new Fuga, which is set for release in Japan in fall 2009.

Active Stability Assist

The Active Stability Assist system supports the driver's control of the vehicle by helping to synchronize braking, steering and engine response. The system helps smooth vehicle operation and enhances full driving enjoyment on winding mountain roads or freeways.

The system senses driving demands based on the driver's steering and acceleration/braking patterns, and individually controls the braking and application of torque to each of the four wheels to help smooth vehicle response. During braking, the system optimizes the distribution of force to each of the four wheels depending on the radius of the curve. This system is designed to make the driver feel more in control.

This system is scheduled for use on the new Fuga which will be released later in Nissan's current fiscal year.

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