Nissan’s innovative ProPILOT Assist semi-autonomous driving system has been a hit with customers, with more than 120,000 vehicles featuring the technology sold globally. The availability of ProPILOT Assist is now set to expand to additional models, including the Nissan Rogue Sport in the U.S. and the Qashqai in Canada, beginning in late 2018.The Rogue, including the Rogue Sport, is Nissan’s top-selling nameplate in the U.S. market
The well-equipped subcompact SUV already enamored us with its impressive capabilities and style for an affordable price, and the inclusion of Nissan’s ProPILOT Assist technology warranted a revisit that proved to be worth our time.
Let’s make one thing clear: ProPILOT doesn’t take away from the driving experience, it enhances it during the stretches in-between the winding back roads. A combination of assisted steering, braking, and accelerating makes highway driving in the Rogue Sport much easier to enjoy as well as safer. Using a forward facing camera as well as radar and a multitude of sensors, ProPILOT can read the road ahead and help the driver maintain the car’s position in the lane. We’re used to luxuries like adaptive cruise control that keeps our car at a comfortable distance with the one ahead of us in traffic, and the Nissan tech does this, too, it just takes it a step further.
In the case of heavy traffic, ProPILOT can slow the Nissan down automatically, if not to a full stop during irritating stop-and-go scenarios. When the road ahead is open, ProPILOT plays a part in reducing driver fatigue by reducing the need to constantly make small steering adjustments. The cameras can see and understand where lane boundaries are, tweaking the driving angle in minute ways to keep drivers in the center. ProPILOT can even recognize curves and – depending on the degree – steer the car along them unassisted.
Make no mistake, this is an assist and not a hands-free level of autonomy. The driver must always be engaged, and that, incidentally, leads to another interesting function of ProPILOT assist.
Most other driving assist or lane-keep systems simply switch off when a driver ignores the alerts, demanding they pay attention. ProPILOT is more thoughtfully engineered, taking into account that laziness might not be the issue and that something might actually be wrong. Here’s how it works: Say the driver takes their hands off the steering wheel for an extended period. The Rogue Sport will display an alert message and also trigger an audio warning. As the driver continues to ignore these alerts, the beeping will increase in tempo.
At this point, the ProPILOT system assumes the driver might have dozed off, so it does a quick tap on the brakes to hopefully jerk the driver awake. If even that is ignored, the car assumes that something is very wrong and – instead of just switching off – ProPILOT will turn the hazard lights on and bring the Rogue to a complete halt.
All this takes place in the span of a minute and we like that the minds behind ProPILOT assist have the driver’s wellbeing in mind beyond making the cruise more enjoyable. ProPILOT is a fine addition to an already superb car that’s more than suitable for nearly every need. The extra brainpower certainly adds to that experience. Who said safe wasn’t sexy? Rogue Sport.
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