Maarten Sierhuis, chief technology officer at Nissan’s Silicon Valley research lab, stated: “Show me an autonomous system without a human in the loop, and I’ll show you a useless system.”
Nissan has plans to bring eyes-off fully autonomous system for urban driving to its cars in the 2020s. However, it wants “socially acceptable” autonomy since humans are social creatures and feel more comfortable when human involvement is present.
As an example, Maarteen used a difficult situation that an AI-programmed autonomous system may not be able to solve. He played a 20-second video from a 4-way-stop intersection in a California town. The video shows how pedestrians and drivers communicate with the use of gesture to manage how and who proceeds. There is no strict rule and sometimes pedestrians go first, sometimes drivers do.
Nissan is collaborating with NASA to develop the “world’s safest traffic control system” to get AVs through intersections similar to one mentioned before and pop-up construction zones where it may be unclear how to proceed.
U.S Federal Aviation Admin and NASA’s Mars Control Center will be taken as examples in developing of Nissan’s traffic-control system. Similarly to Mars Control Center, Nissan wants to upload plans for the car when it starts to work. Nissan is working on a “teleoperation system” that consists of a teleoperator console environment, 4G or 5G communication and a tele-up system that communicates with the autonomous system.
Data coming back from sensors will be transmitted to the operator, and he/she will create a new plan if needed. Nissan still has to figure out how to find and train these operators.
Additionally, the company is working on the connection of its own cloud-based environment to a traffic-management center that has every traffic light’s data. It also has plans to develop a more advance vehicle-to-infrastructure system in future.