Nissan is rolling out its first semi-autonomous driving system, one it calls ProPilot. But it won’t be available in the U.S. at first. Instead, the automaker is launching the system on its fifth-generation Serena minivan, which is only sold in Japan.
ProPilot is designed for single-lane, not multiple-lane, highway driving. It takes over some driving functions, like steering, acceleration and braking when activated. Drivers must always keep their hands on the wheel.
Nissan’s approach to start in Japan may work out for the best. Especially since U.S. auto regulators are now looking at self-driving tech with even more scrutiny following several Tesla crashes where autopilot was activated. One of them killed a Model S driver when the car failed to detect a truck in its path. Bloomberg reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to announce self-driving guidelines as soon as this month.
Nissan stresses its system is designed to assist the driver, not replace the driver. The automaker says it is “carrying out intensive studies” of driving conditions in various regions where it plans to launch in the future.
It looks like Europe is next after Japan, and the U.S. sometime after that.
Here’s a look at where Nissan hopes to be with its technology by 2020.