On the heels of the 2012 Nissan Versa Sedan being awarded a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Nissan’s Bob Yakushi spoke with the Media Center about the future of product safety.
Yakushi discusses a collaborative relationship with other OEMs that is studying a vehicle-to-vehicle, or vehicle-to-infrastructure, communication system – all with the goal of achieving a zero-accident vision for the future.
Q1: What is Nissan’s vision for the future of safety, with regard to vehicle development?
A1: Nissan has a vision of ultimately having no accidents and no fatalities. And so to accomplish that type of ultimate goal, we have Nissan’s Safety Shield. This concept addresses normal driving when a risk hasn’t appeared, a risk has appeared, a pre-collision risk, the collision itself, and then post-collision. And so, what we are doing is trying to individually address all of these areas with different types of technologies and features on our vehicles.
For example, we have forward collision warning, we have lane departure prevention and lane-departure warning, we have a blind spot intervention and also now back-up intervention on a vehicle. So, by applying these different technologies, we can form different layers around the vehicle to help mitigate the risk of crash and the risk to passengers and drivers.
Q2: Where’s the next breakthrough for vehicles and safety?
A2: For the last 25 years we’ve been focused on passive safety – our zone body construction, multiple airbags to help mitigate and reduce injuries in the event of a crash. Where are headed is how to try to avoid the risk of a crash. So, in that area we have looked at vehicle dynamic control, many of the advanced technologies, such as forward collision warning, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, rear collision intervention. But, ultimately what we want to do is be very predictive.
How can we do that? Well, how about cars talking to cars, vehicle-to-vehicle communications. As we move in that direction, ultimately this type of communication between vehicles can help mitigate and reduce the risk of injury. We are working pre-competitively with other OEMs to develop a vehicle-to-vehicle, or vehicle-to-infrastructure type communication system to help go toward that zero accident vision that NISSAN has.
Q3: We’ve heard a lot about back-up cameras – but, really, they aren’t a safety aid, can you explain?
A3: Rear-view monitors that we have equipped on our vehicles are not meant as a safety device. They are intended to be used as a parking aid to help you get into that tight parking space or to look for a fixed object you might run into. For dynamic situations such as people or animals moving in and out of the rear area around your vehicle, that environment changes very quickly. You shouldn’t just rely on that rear-view monitor but you should be checking to see what is around you so you can safely back up your vehicle.
Q4: Summer will be here soon, and people will be on the roads traveling, what are the top three things we can do to ensure safety for our passengers and other travelers?
A4: Spring is coming up, summer is coming up and one of the most important thing you can do when you go on vacation or a trip is wear your seat belt. And that is a primary restraint system in your vehicle and really, airbags are supplemental to help you in the event of a crash. So, wear your seat belt all the time, don’t text on your phone – that is a distraction and against the law now in a number of U.S. states.
When it comes to your most precious cargo, your children or other children, make sure they are properly restrained in a child-safety restraint system appropriate for their age, size and weight. Remember, wear your seat belt, don’t text when you are driving and the obvious one, don’t drink and drive.
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