Autonomous vehicles: The future of mobility


Once a futuristic dream, autonomous vehicles (AVs) are today morphing from an abstract concept into a very tangible reality – right before our eyes.

Nissan Ariya Concept
Image Supplied by Nissan South Africa

At last, concepts like a crossover EV with twin electric motors, powerful acceleration, award-winning driver assistance technology and a look that signals a complete reinvention of how the new Nissan Ariya Concept, introduced at the 46th Tokyo Motor Show, signals the dawn of a new era for evolutionary phase of the automobile.

The Ariya Concept offers a spacious, premium cabin with high-tech features and a body that conveys the pure, clean nature of electric cars. It embodies the Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision of personal transportation – one where electrification and vehicle intelligence will offer seamless and adaptive travel experiences free of accidents or harmful emissions.

"The Ariya Concept highlights Nissan's promise of an entirely new driving experience that's just on the horizon,"

said Takao Asami, senior vice president for research and advanced engineering at Nissan.

"This zero-emission crossover isn't a concept car based on far-off ideas; it's a showcase of technologies available in the very near term."

There is consensus in the automotive industry that with manufacturing, there is a gateway to inclusive economic growth. The Ariya Concept is an example of automotive production which will broaden local value chains, advances technology, and supports local skills development.

The Ariya Concept expands on design elements first hinted at by the Nissan IMx concept at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show.

"The Ariya Concept represents a strong collaboration between design and engineering,"

said Yasuhiro Yamauchi, representative executive officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

In order to fully embrace this technology and harness its true potential, we do need to address the infrastructure challenges - such as potholes and unclear and / or damaged road markings and signs – that could otherwise derail our efforts as well as design structures with this technology in mind now, so as to mitigate against having to make costly modifications later.

But the potential benefits of AV technology are manifold. Increased uptake of AVs could reduce accidents, traffic congestion and CO2 emissions. The technology also offers motorists lower fuel consumption rates and reduced travel time. And it lays the foundations for improved public transport systems.

‘Human factors’ have been identified as the primary reason for more than 75 percent of all fatal road accidents in South Africa. AV technology represents one way in which we can mitigate against the risk of these human factors. It doesn’t get tired or distracted nor does it deviate from the rules of the road. It can also detect what as humans, we might not be able to and react more quickly.

In addition, AV technology paves the way for more efficient shared transport systems and better functioning public transport systems, which both increase road safety by decreasing traffic volumes.

Nissan Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM) and ProPILOT

At Nissan, we’ve made it our mission to make the latest in advanced automotive technology – like AV technology - more accessible to our consumers. 

Developed using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) VERVE software - which was originally designed to visualize and supervise interplanetary robots - as a starting point, Nissan’s Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM) system combines in-vehicle artificial intelligence (AI) with remote human support to help AVs make the best possible decisions in unpredictable situations and navigate unanticipated obstacles.

Meanwhile, ProPILOT - a revolutionary autonomous drive technology designed for highway use in single-lane traffic – uses advanced image-processing technology to understand road and traffic situations and to execute precise steering. It’s also extremely user-friendly and is activated and deactivated using a switch on the steering wheel.

AVs represent the future of the automotive industry and will also contribute significantly to the revenue of growth of various industries such as technology and electronics. Deloitte’s 2019 Global Automotive Consumer Study revealed that consumers are willing to pay extra for connected technologies.

Autonomous vehicles have the potential to reduce accidents, reduce CO2 emissions are more efficient and is something that all South Africans should explore embracing. is an award-winning Digital Media, Marketing, and Advertising Company est. 2015, is a Member of the Independent Media Association of South Africa (IMASA), and Brand South Africa's Play Your Part Ambassadors, with a global reach of over 10 million

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