There are a lot of automakers out there that are claiming semi-autonomous driving capabilities. However, as mandated by law (Japanese law), most systems will require you to keep your hands on the wheel in those modes, even when just cruising down a single lane on the highway.
Japanese law requires that a driver has to be active behind the wheel or at least has full attention to the car he/she is driving. Nissan, on the other hand, says they have cracked it, and have made a system that won't require you to touch the steering wheel at all times. It's part of the new ProPilot autonomous driving system, (imaginatively) named ProPilot 2.0. It's not just a concept either: it will be offered in the updated Nissan Skyline in its home market.
No, the Nissan GT-R will not get this ProPilot 2.0 option. While the name of the car is Skyline, the car that will come with this option is actually unrelated to the new 'Godzilla'. The Skyline of today (actually, of the past 18 years) is more BMW 3 Series fighter than track day weapon. But enough about the car that will feature ProPilot 2.0, and turn our attention to the tech itself.
ProPilot 2.0 still falls under semi-autonomous driving, with driver input necessary if the situation arises. The system can also do lane changes when prompted by the driver or when suggested by ProPilot 2.0, to which the driver can choose to accept or decline. But the main highlight here is its ability for hands-free driving. However, there are a few conditions as to what it can and cannot do.
First of all, hands-free driving is possible when driving in a single lane, be it on the highway or any main thoroughfare with defined markings. From there, it can start, stop, accelerate, decelerate, and take gentle corners. What it can't do is perform an evasive maneuver, which is why Nissan is still saying that the driver must always pay attention to the road ahead. The hands-free function does not work in tunnels or other places with weak GPS signals.
So it's far from being totally autonomous, but it's a start. With the idea of hands-free driving still in its relatively early stages, it's still worth commending Nissan for being one of the first automakers to feature hands-off cruising in a standard production car.
But if autonomous driving isn't your thing, Nissan will still serve up a healthy dose of adrenaline in the future. The Japanese automaker did say that they will keep making performance cars in the coming years.