VIDEO: New Nissan Serena – how ProPILOT works

Nissan has made quite a hoopla regarding the ProPILOT system in the new Nissan Serena – which is slated to go on sale in Japan in late August – billing it as a first step towards fully-autonomous driving. To make things a little clearer to the layperson, it has released some information and a couple of videos to explain how the whole thing works.

ProPILOT may be Nissan’s umbrella moniker for its autonomous drive systems, but the single-lane system in the Serena is little more than adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go traffic capabilities and steering assist – much like the systems fitted to the W222 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the Volvo XC90. Nissan claims it’s the first Japanese carmaker to control the steering, brakes and throttle fully automatically – although we do take that rather ambitious assertion with a pinch of salt.

The main difference between Nissan’s approach and those of other manufacturers is that it doesn’t use a radar to detect the distance of the vehicle in front – ProPILOT makes use of just a single mono camera at the top of the windscreen, the same one used for the Serena’s autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system.


Said camera is equipped with advanced image-processing software that can recognise three-dimensional depth, allowing it to detect both the vehicle in front and lane markers. Based on the information from the camera, the high-speed processor controls the steering, brakes and throttle, keeping a set distance from the vehicle in front at speeds of between 30 and 100 km/h.

Like other advanced adaptive cruise control systems, the system will keep the Serena in the centre of the lane – even on gentle highway curves – and will automatically apply the brakes to bring it to a complete stop if the vehicle in front does the same. Once the vehicle in front sets off again, the driver can reactivate ProPILOT by pushing the resume button on the steering wheel or by lightly pressing the accelerator pedal.

The ProPILOT autonomous driving system will continue to be developed, with Nissan planning to introduce multi-lane highway capabilities – including autonomous lane changes, putting it in the same league as Tesla’s Autopilot system – in 2018, and autonomous driving in urban environments and intersections by 2020, just in time for the Tokyo Olympics.

GALLERY: New Nissan Serena

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Jonathan Lee

After trying to pursue a career in product design, Jonathan Lee decided to make the sideways jump into the world of car journalism instead. He therefore appreciates the aesthetic appeal of a car, but for him, the driving experience is still second to none.



  • Nissan on Jul 19, 2016 at 10:53 am

    This one sure fail and crash if it is running at Federal highway towards Batu Tiga toll coz the line cross into each other’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  • Fail. It doesnt show how it reacts when treler puteh intercept during bright sunny day. Inb4 another killer tech from jepunis overlords, jangan persoal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
  • Yokohama24 on Jul 19, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Looking at the Malaysian driving behavior, I don’t think autopilot is a good idea. However it would be useful during heavy traffic jams

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • karam singh on Jul 19, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    This is the system proton and p2 really really need to put attention. Many Malaysians cant drive in their respective lane properly. Causing danger to other road users whether in the same direction or the oncoming traffic. Malaysia need this.

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  • pengayuhbasikal on Jul 19, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    this pro pilot will probably failed with our road..even on highway…because…suddenly..the continous line on the left most lane disappeared.

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    • It will fail cuz we have to much bright sunlight and treler and lori puteh. To implement this in MY, Gov need to ban all white bodied commercial vehicles and lower the sunlight intensity. Then it wun kirr pipu

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
  • kadajawi (Member) on Jul 19, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    I’m sceptical. My car has both a long range radar and a camera… so cruise control and lane assist are covered. The radar works very well, and is designed to work at speeds up to 210 km/h. The problem is the camera, which misses lanes, even when they are relatively clearly marked. And often enough in Malaysia the lanes aren’t marked…

    But the Nissan doesn’t have a radar, and relying on a single camera alone to determine the traffic ahead… I don’t think that works so well. IIRC Honda uses a similar system, and owners complain that it slams the brakes when you want to drive under a bridge…

    I’m worried people will get too lazy, this system will assist the driver, which is great, and it should hopefully be able to avert dangerous situations. But I doubt this system can fully take over driving duties.

    Also, why on earth isn’t VW offering these systems on their models in Malaysia? Why don’t they order these options? IIRC VW charges around RM 1500 for lane assist, and around RM 2000 for adaptive cruise control.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • single camera depth sensing? fxxking kidding me? even tesla radar + cameras cant be accurately judge object in front and now single camera… hopefully no oxymoron Serena owner crash into back of my car while watching hairy plotter….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Salihuddin Shamsuddin on Mar 07, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    why not we give them to test and evaluate… then we see the result how…

    But it looks cool…

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