Getting Closer to the Jetsons: Nissan’s Autonomous Car

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Come with us and look into the future.

At the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, I got a demonstration (a stationary demo) of Nissan’s IDS concept car, an autonomous vehicle that is more moving living room than car. This all electric vehicle, which Nissan says should come to market in five years, does everything but your nails.

Nissan’s Autonomous Car

Takashi Sunda, Deputy General Manager, Mobility Services Laboratory, in the Nissan IDS; if he were really driving, he’d have his eyes on the road. Credit: Scotty Reiss for AGirlsGuidetoCars

The IDS concept, which stands for Intelligent Driving System, is a zero emissions vehicle that features a retractable steering wheel; with a push of a button, the squarish  steering ‘wheel,’ which more closely resembles an airplane’s steering yoke, retracts and a flat iPad-like screen drops down.

This screen communicates with other cars on the highway, and you can program in where you want to go; but with a touch of a button, the steering wheel controls come back and you can take over driving.

Nissan Ids Concept Car

The command center inside Nissan’s autonomous car is a square steering ‘wheel’ that can transition into a tablet at the push of a button. Photo: Nissan

Yet even in manual mode, the driver  can utilize the sensors that provide information on other cars on the road; cameras are  embedded in the sides of the car to see what’s happening around it, and also on windshield. With this feedback, a driver can maintain a safe distance form other cars (who, presumably, are to driving cars with this information, or they wouldn’t be tailgating or cutting you off).

Takashi Sunda, Deputy General Manager, Mobility Services Laboratory, demonstrated some of the Nissan’s IDS features (from a stationary stand point, alas). He pointed out cool features like light up pedals; whether you are driving, or the computer takes over, time in this car is designed to be fun.

Unique look to go with unique capabilities

Nissan'S Ids Concept

The Nissan IDS concept car has a unique look and ‘suicide’ doors that open from the center of the car. Photo: Nissan

The concept car also has a gorgeous interior, with real wood trim and super comfortable leather seats – since, of course, the idea is that you are in  a mobile living room. When the car is in autonomous, or piloted mode, the seats rotate inward slightly, so the passengers – up to four adults can fit comfortably  – can more easily chat. It might need a sulky teen mode though so when my teen daughters are annoyed with me, the seats in the back face out the window.

In manual mode, the seats all face forward and the interior lighting switches to an eye pleasing blue that makes it easier to concentrate.

Nissan’s Autonomous Car

Door handles are flush, then pop out when you approach with the key. Credit: Scotty Reiss for AGirlsGuidetoCars

Outside, the car looks equally luxurious and unique; there are “suicide doors” that open from the center of the car and a glass roof. The body is made of carbon fiber, and when you walk up with your key, the door handles pop out.

Nissan produced this video that shows what the IDS looks like in action:

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss