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Nissan sells the car with the passenger inside

Nissan sells the car with the passenger inside

Nissan, the Japanese engine giant, is projecting forward: between trumpet blasts and special effects it announces Pivo 2 , its electric concept car on display at the 2007 Tokio Motor Show, which opened its doors last weekend. It is probably the first car that is offered for sale with a passenger on board.

It is about Pivo-Kun , robot installed inside the vehicle, a perfect assistant: the cameras inserted in its “head” are able to keep an eye on the driver’s gaze. If they detect anomalies such as signs of drowsiness, sad expression, or frown, via the on-board computer intervene : “Hey, you look kind of angry, why? Don’t you wanna try to calm down? Maybe it’s time to stop for a while? ” are some of the phrases that the speech synthesizer would produce by reacting to the state of the face.

In fact, we read on ITWorld, it would not take a robot to achieve this: a cam inserted in the dashboard would be enough. But Masato Inoue, chief designer of Nissan’s exploratory design group, is not of the same opinion. “Unlike a simple cam, the robot create a relationship much more intimate between the driver and the car, ”he says.

Exhausted, so to speak, the “folkloric” aspect, Nissan believes that the robot plays a very important role in terms of safety . “We have evidence that the number of accidents caused by serene people is drastically lower than that totaled by impaired people. This is why the robot is designed to try to supervise the driver and direct him to the best possible state of mind ”, Inoue relates in an interview. This kind of tests on the driver and on the functional autonomy of the vehicle are the result of long studies and field tests of the Japanese company, which was not limited to the simple issue of a synthesized phrase book but, in the case of this concept car, provided actions on the seat, on the seat belt, vibrations on the steering wheel, pop-up on the on-board screen video and other signals in order to avoid, for example, the dangers arising from stroke of sleep .

On a purely technical level, in addition to the typical innovations of an advanced electric car, the Pivo 2 has a power-assisted passenger compartment that can rotate on itself by 180 degrees: this peculiarity facilitates the execution of a parking without maneuvers, carried out perpendicular to the road layout. , thanks also to the wheels able to position themselves, all four, at 90 degrees with respect to the direction of travel. GPS and Internet connectivity serve as a tasty condiment and, inserted in a concept environment like the one created by Nissan, make time spent in the car even more comfortable.

The car, similar to a small car, was born as a highly technological urban commuter, which in the minds of the designers took shape thinking of the millions of motorists who, in the crowded traffic hours of Japanese cities, do not always exhibit the best driving skills.

When? “Probably around 2015,” says Inoue. “This is a concept car, so it won’t be marketable in a few days. However, all the technology he uses is fully realistic. At the moment, the big problem is the cost: the battery, for example, is very expensive. But, as with mobile phones, at first it seemed an insurmountable problem, then it became one of the most common components ”.

Marco Valerio Principality