Nissan returned to CES in Las Vegas for its third year to unveil a swathe of futuristic new technology that it believes will be commonplace in its fleet of vehicles within the next decade or so. The headline announcement was its so-called "Invisible-to-Visible" system, developed by the team at Nissan Intelligent Mobility.
The technology, catchily shortened to "I2V", is designed to display all of the important information gathered by the sensors embedded within the vehicle. So, the system can show the best line to follow on the road ahead of you à la Gran Turismo, as well as your current speed and remaining battery charge projected onto the windscreen of your car, or displayed in a pair of smart glasses worn by the driver.
Not only will I2V display information about congestion and estimated travel time, it can also suggest alternative routes – down to the best-moving lane in heavy traffic, by using real-time local data mapping.
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And that's not all. Nissan has taken this approach a step further with it's new "Metaverse" concept. This allows people from anywhere in the world (with a strong Wi-Fi connection) to appear in the passenger seat of your car.
On-stage, Nissan showed a driver wearing AR glasses looking to their right to find a professional driving instructor strapped into the seat next to them, ready to give handy tips about how best to approach the snaking mountain road ahead of them.
Using Virtual Reality (VR) goggles, the driving instructor is able to see exactly the same view through the windscreen as the driver in real-time – this allows them to advise on the conditions and your technique.
Not only that, but once all of the requisite permissions have been granted, the passenger is able to make adjustments to the settings in the car itself – fiddling with traction control so the driver gets the best possible experience.
Nissan says car owners will be able to pick and choose from a plethora of different driving companions via the "Metaverse", which it jokingly described on-stage as "like The Matrix" – albeit with a distinct lack of black leather trench coats.
Speaking to T3, Nissan Vice President of Research, Kazuhiro Doi said the Metaverse will be a platform that will enable new businesses to thrive. Tour guides will be able to offer personalised new experiences by beaming themselves directly into people's vehicles and talking them through a national park, or city as they drive around.
Since the experience is taking place in real-time, drivers will be able to ask questions, make requests of their co-pilot, pass then boiled sweets, and more.
Although it's powered by some of the latest technologies, the concept behind the Metaverse is remarkably low-tech. And that's exactly why Nissan believes drivers will quickly see its usefulness.
“By helping you see the invisible, I2V enhances your confidence and makes driving more enjoyable,” said Tetsuro Ueda, leader at the Nissan Research Centre.
“The interactive features create an experience that’s tailored to your interests and driving style so that anyone can enjoy using it in their own way.”
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