The upcoming Nissan Leaf has a partial self-driving feature called ProPilot Assist. Given a projected 150 mile range, it is a very practical all electric vehicle for all but the longest commuters. The ProPilot assist will have an adaptive cruise control feature to take care of the throttle. The lane keep assist feature seems to be more advanced than the features in cars like my 2016 Subaru Legacy with Eyesight with Lane Keep Assist.
Here’s one review of a pre-production version of the ProPilot Assist Nissan Leaf:
Getting on the interstates at the western edge of Las Vegas, I pressed the blue ProPilot Assist button. It engages lane departure warning and full-range adaptive cruise control for a semi-autonomous form of highway driving that keeps you positioned in the center of your current lane and paces the car ahead. You can engage ProPilot Assist at any speed above 20 mph, then it works at 0 to 90 mph. This is Level 2 of the SAE’s 0-5 levels of autonomy: multiple systems working together to assist the driver. It wants to feel your hands on the wheel — micro-movements are enough — and it will drive you as long there’s energy in the batteries.
How did it work? There was some trial and error at first. On these Nevada interstates, the road-edge markers are solid lanes and the lane dividers are multiple raised dots. My Leaf initially favored the solid line and tried to take that line onto the exit ramp before I applied a little pressure to keep it straight on the highway. A couple times after that, it appeared to wander and I corrected before waiting to see if it would cross a lane boundary. Shifting to the middle lane with dots on both sides, PPA was better at keeping the car centered. Later, it was fine driving on an outside lane (lane dots one side, continuous lane paint the other side). There was no divided-highway curve that was too sharp for the car to handle on its own.
Some more information about a ProPilot test on a closed course:
The other semi-autonomous feature we sampled was the ProPilot Assist system, which is Nissan’s intelligent adaptive cruise control. ProPilot uses a suite of sensors — the Leaf has cameras in front, back, and on the side mirrors, as well as 12 sonar sensors, plus radar in the nose — to feel its way through the world. After our parking demonstration, we headed out on a banked oval test track following a lead vehicle. We got in the same lane as the other car and turned on cruise control, set it to a specific speed that happened to be higher than our lead vehicle’s, and let the car do the rest. The driver can also choose a number of different following distances, and we picked one in about the middle.
The Leaf kept its distance and adjusted its speed to match the car ahead. When that car slowed, even to a stop, so did the Leaf. At the same time, the ProPilot Assist kept us squarely in the center of our lane. The Leaf tracked well, so the system wasn’t doing much work on the straight road, anyway. Despite the pavement being slightly wet, the car had no trouble detecting the lane markings. We were told, though, that engaging the windshield wipers will disable steering assist, leaving the driver to keep in their lane the old-school way.
Unfortunately, in this review, they mention the ProPilot Park feature will not be available in the first year release of the Nissan Leaf. It seems like it could be a nice convenience feature.