Don’t let go of the steering wheel just yet. At less than $35,000, the 2018 Nissan Rogue Platinum could possibly be the lowest-priced vehicle with Level 2 self-driving technology to date, but at this stage of functionality, it’s still necessary to keep a guiding hand on the wheel — just in case.
Nissan ProPilot Assist handles following distance and lane centering at speeds from 0 to 90 mph, best suited to closed-access freeways with high-contrast lane markings. The system is not geofenced, however, and can be activated anytime cruise control is set.
Nissan ProPilot Assist, available on the 2018 Rogue Platinum, brings Level 2 self-driving tech to the hot compact crossover segment. At under $35,000, the Rogue marks one of the most inexpensive ways to experience advanced technology designed to reduce the fatigue of freeway gridlock or long drives across well-maintained highways. Read more at @AutoVerdictPics — link in my bio. #nissanrogue #propilotassist
Set ProPilot, and the wheel begins to nibble left and right in a series of corrections intended to keep laser-straight on the center of the lane. Should the system’s cameras lose focus on the shoulder and center lines, two subtle beeps advise the driver that the system no longer controls steering. Poor lane markings, road damage or even a gruesome streak of roadkill can disrupt the camera’s view, making it imperative for drivers to keep a hand on the wheel in case of sudden disengagement. As the wheel tugs left and right, it can sense whether the driver has hold of the wheel. Should the driver let go, the system immediately advises the driver to grab hold in an escalating series of chimes and warnings. At the third warning, the system pulses the brake pedal, mimicing ABS actuation, to rouse the driver. If the driver still fails to take hold of the wheel, the vehicle assumes the driver is incapacitated, and comes to a full stop inside the lane as hazard flashers warn followers.
Level 2 autonomous driving systems aren’t designed to absolve the driver of full control on the highway. Tap on the accelerator, flip the turn signal on or provide steering input, and the system temporarily defers to the driver. Set the windshield wipers above intermittent, and the system cancels altogether. Sunny day traffic jams are the ideal environment for the system to prove itself, says Nissan, though we weren’t able to evaluate the system’s stop-and-go behavior during a first drive at the Texas Auto Writers Association Texas Truck Rodeo near Austin. Over several miles of relatively well-marked two-lane farm road curves, the system proved able to hold the road for a couple minutes at a time before a driveway, turn lane or faded lane marking required intervention. Often, the system redetects lane markings and automatically re-engages, but at times, the system requires extended attention from the driver.
As crossover sales continue to eat away midsize sedans’ slice of market share, Nissan becomes the first purveyor of inevitable technology in a hot segment. Highway commuters may find ProPilot Assist a formidable weapon against gridlock, a natural step in a march eventually ending in fully automated transportation.