Nissan's latest Skyline Crossover went on sale Monday in Japan packed with some of the company's most advanced automotive electronics technology. The sensors and computer systems in the car should make driving safer and parking easier.
With the launch, Nissan is delivering on a promise made last year when it demonstrated the systems, to have them in production cars this year.
Among the main tech features of the Skyline Crossover, which is called the Infiniti EX is some other markets, is the "lane departure prevention" system. A camera behind the mirror monitors the road markings and calculates the car's position in the lane. When it starts to stray away from the center of the lane the computer gently and briefly applies the brakes on one side of the car to pull it back towards the center.
It builds on a previous system that sounded an alarm if the car started to stray into a neighboring lane.
Also available is a new version of Nissan's "around view monitor" that brings together images from four cameras around the car to provide a bird's eye-like view of the car while its being parked.
When using the system the driver must first select the type of parking maneuver to be accomplished, such as backing into a space or parallel parking. Then the space needs to be identified by moving a digital box, which represents the car, with a joystick over the desired space as seen on the car's navigation display. From then the car will instruct the driver just what needs to be done to get into the space smoothly.
In tests the system worked very well. Perhaps the biggest obstacle for drivers isn't learning technology but learning to trust in the computer-aided course being presented.
The Skyline Crossover also includes Nissan's "forward collision warning" system, that sounds an audible alarm if the car gets too close to the car in front when driving at speeds over 15 kilometers per hour.
Nissan has been building ever more complex systems into its cars to make driving safer for the driver, passengers, other road users and pedestrians. The company's safety project has as its goal to halve the number of fatalities or serious injuries in accidents involving its vehicles between 1995 and 2015.
The Skyline Crossover went on sale on Monday in Japan. It hit the U.S. in late May under the name Infiniti EX, the same moniker it will also carry in the U.K. when it launches there in September.
Infiniti is the luxury car division of Nissan. The price for the car in Tokyo ranges from 4.2 million yen (US$48,636) to 5 million yen, while in the U.S. it sells for between US$33,800 to $37,400 depending on the model and make-up of the car.