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Welcome to the weekly edition of Droomers Weekly your leading news and information source on Nissan, Droomers Nissan and the motor industry in general. Our objectives are to be informational, educational and relevant. We will also appreciate comments, complaints and suggestions and you can e-mail us at info@droomersnissan.co.za.

 

 

 

 

 

NISSAN UNVEILS WORLD’S FIRST SOLID-OXIDE FUEL CELL VEHICLE

 

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. revealed the world’s first Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell (SOFC)-powered prototype vehicle in Brazil that runs on bio-ethanol electric power. 

 

The breakthrough model, an all-new light–commercial vehicle, can rely on multiple fuels, including ethanol and natural gas, to produce high-efficiency electricity as a power source.

 

Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn said: “The e-Bio Fuel-Cell offers eco-friendly transportation and creates opportunities for regional energy production…all the while supporting the existing infrastructure. In the future, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell will become even more user-friendly. Ethanol-blended water is easier and safer to handle than most other fuels. Without the need to create new infrastructure, it has great potential to drive market growth.”

 

The fuel cell prototype forms part of Nissan’s ongoing commitment to the development of zero-emission vehicles and new automotive technologies including autonomous drive systems and connectivity. Nissan already sells the world’s highest-volume zero-emission car, the LEAF, and is pioneering Intelligent Mobility systems that will be deployed in a range of vehicles over coming years.

 

In this latest zero-emission development, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell prototype vehicle runs on 100-percent ethanol to charge a 24kWh battery which enables a cruising range of more than 600km. Nissan will conduct further field tests on public roads in Brazil using the prototype. 

 

Research and development of the e-Bio Fuel-Cell was announced by Nissan in June in Yokohama. The powertrain is clean, highly-efficient, easy to supply, and runs on 100-percent ethanol or ethanol-blended water. Its carbon-neutral emissions are as clean as the atmosphere, which will be the part of natural carbon cycle. Also, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell offers the brisk acceleration and silent driving of an EV, along with its low-running costs, while boasting the driving range of a gasoline-engine vehicle.

 

Bio-ethanol fuels are mainly sourced from sugarcane and corn. These fuels are widely available in countries in North and South America, which feature widely-established infrastructure.  Due to the easy availability of ethanol and low combustibility of ethanol-blended water, the system is not heavily dependent or restricted by the existing charging infrastructure, making it easy to introduce to the market. In the future, people may only need to stop by small retail stores to buy fuel off the shelf.

 

In pursuit of realizing a zero-emission and zero-fatality society for cars, Nissan continues to promote vehicle intelligence and electrification. Nissan’s brand promise of “Innovation That Excites” is delivered with “Nissan Intelligent Mobility”, which focuses on how cars are powered, driven and integrated into society through a more enjoyable driving experience. 

 

The e-Bio Fuel-Cell will realize the concept of “Nissan Intelligent Power,” promoting greater efficiency and electrification of cars and the joys of driving, alongside battery EVs, such as the “Nissan Leaf”, “Nissan e-NV200,” and “e-Power,” which is equipped with an engine housing an exclusive large-capacity motor and power generator. 

 

Nissan will continue to provide value to its customers by incorporating systems that enable the extraction of electric power from various fuels, while addressing the infrastructure issues tied to energy supply in every region of the world.

 

 

 

 

PEOPLE BEHIND THE PROPILOT: WHAT DOES AN ANTHROPOLOGIST BRING TO AUTONOMOUS DRIVING DESIGN?

 

Designing the autonomous vehicle of the future requires an array of the best technical talent available: automobile and software engineers, experts on sensor technology and artificial intelligence, computer scientists, production specialists and many others.

 

But one profession you might not expect to find at the design table — anthropologist — is playing a key role in developing Nissan’s next generation autonomous vehicle, analyzing human driving interactions to ensure that it is prepared to be a “good citizen” on the road.

 

 

“Car technology is continuing to evolve and change,” said Melissa Cefkin, principal scientist and design anthropologist at the Nissan Research Center in Silicon Valley. “And now … we’re adding this autonomous dimension to it … that will bring around further changes in society, all the way down to the everyday way in which we interact and behave on the road.”

 

While the term anthropologist may conjure up names like Claude Levi-Strauss, Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, Cefkin, represents a decidedly modern branch of the field. She is a corporate and design anthropologist specializing in ethnography — which is the systematic study of people and cultures from the viewpoint of the subject.

 

In the case of autonomous vehicles, Cefkin said that means taking a fresh look at how humans interact with “a deeply and profoundly cultural object” — the automobile — and gaining insights into how new technologies might interpret or act on those behaviors.

 

“(With autonomous vehicles), if there’s someone in the driver’s seat, that person may not be physically driving the car. And in the future, we may go all the way to driverless, so that there may not even be somebody in the driver’s seat.”

 

Cefkin and the other members of her team are focused on the third milestone in Nissan’s autonomous vehicle program — development of the capability for the vehicle to navigate city driving and intersections without driver intervention.

 

That system is expected to be introduced in 2020, following the release in July 2016 of the first of Nissan’s autonomous drive technologies, known as “ProPILOT,” an autonomous drive technology designed for highway use in single-lane traffic, and a “multiple-lane” application that can autonomously negotiate hazards and change lanes during highway driving, due in 2018.

 

When Cefkin joined Nissan in March 2015, after stints at IBM, Sapient Corp. and Silicon Valley’s influential Institute for Research on Learning, she and her team immediately began documenting not just interactions in the city involving drivers, but also those between vehicles and pedestrians, bicyclists and road features.

 

“We’re trying to distill out of our work … some key lessons for what an autonomous vehicle will need to know — what it perceives in the world and then how it can make sense, make judgments and behave itself to be able to interact effectively in those different systems,” she said.

 

Cefkin cited four-way intersections with stop signs as a “problematic and incredibly interesting” situation her team examined closely.

 

“What happens at a four-way stop, it’s open to a lot of interpretation,” she explained. “Yeah, I’m supposed to stop … (but) once I’ve stopped it doesn’t tell me when to go again, so that’s up to me to figure out.”

 

Initial learnings from the study show that drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists often use “eye gaze” and forms of “direct communications,” such as a hand wave, “to give off very clear signals about their intentions” in such situations, Cefkin said.

 

“ …we are working at the heart, the guts of the core technology and bringing insights and the kind of understanding that we have about human practices and human experience right into the fundamental design of the system.”

 

That led to early planning on how an autonomous vehicle might communicate its next move, one vision of which was presented in the IDS Concept car.

Cefkin said that some features depicted in the video may end up closely resembling those of Nissan’s autonomous vehicles in the next decade — like a light that “acknowledges” the presence of a pedestrian. The team is also exploring how to communicate the car’s intention in situations where “multiple agents” —  say numerous pedestrians or bicyclists — are present. The key would be how to communicate what the vehicle is doing, “like stopping, waiting, yielding, about to go, going, things like that,” in a way that would be interpreted in the same way by everyone.

 

Cefkin said such studies demonstrate the wisdom of having anthropologists involved in the earliest stages of vehicle design, rather than making adjustments later in the product cycle as some other automakers have done.

 

“What’s different for us is we are working at the heart, the guts of the core technology and bringing insights and the kind of understanding that we have about human practices and human experience right into the fundamental design of the system,” she said.

 

 

 

THIS WEEK IN THE NEWS

 

In case you haven’t heard, the Rio Olympics are just around the corner. Even the most misanthropic of South Africans are gathering everything red, blue, green, black and gold that they own to cheer for Team South Africa to bring home a truckload of medals. Nissan is ready to help spectators celebrate and show social media their wild side while staying reserved in person with a new face painting app.

READ MORE: https://thenewswheel.com/skip-the-face-paint-mess-with-this-nissan-app/

 

Nissan isn’t known for being a fun car maker and it is only every now and again when they offer up something that surprises us. Its been a long time since we were given anything fun to drive and fans have been hoping that something is coming their way.

Nissan does seem to be focused on green technology and the only vehicles that you might say are fun to drive are the Z, Maxima and GT-R. However now we are hearing that things may change with the Nissan Sentra as it is coming next year in the hatchback format.

READ MORE: http://www.autoomobile.com/news/new-nissan-sentra-leaning-on-turbochargers/40031832/

 

Experts are always warning parents to listen to their children so as to pick up on subtleties which could be indicating a far more serious problem.

Les Mc Master, chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), says it’s the same with cars - ignore your car’s moans and groans at your own peril.

READ MORE: http://www.wheels24.co.za/AutoTrader/whats-that-grinding-sound-10-car-noises-you-shouldnt-ignore-20160801

 

A team of Nissan engineers working in their spare time have produced a prototype model of the company's LEAF electric car featuring a battery with double the capacity of the 24kWh production model.

The 48kWh capacity prototype promises a 75 per cent increase in driving range in everyday conditions. The 24kWh model boasts a stated range of 84 miles between charges, suggesting the prototype could deliver a range of nearly 150 miles. The larger battery also promises an increase on the 107 mile range delivered by Nissan's 30kWh LEAF.

READ MORE: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2465627/nissan-team-prototype-extends-leaf-range-by-75-per-cent

 

Research shows that worldwide, car crashes are the leading cause of death among young people, with a higher proportion dying on the roads during summer holidays than at any other time of year.

Drivers in the UK are the most likely in Europe to be distracted by "attractive pedestrians", and the majority of road accident fatalities involve young men, according to research by the European Road Safety Observatory.

READ MORE: http://www.wheels24.co.za/News/Guides_and_Lists/young-drivers-become-careless-during-holidays-survey-20160802

 

It has been said that the next generation Nissan Leaf would come with a range extender powered by gas to boost the amount of miles the vehicle can travel. It is said that we could see a new Leaf with a plug-in hybrid variation. However EV lovers may be put off by this.

READ MORE: http://www.autoomobile.com/news/2017-nissan-leaf-gives-in-to-gas-same-as-volt/40031889/

 

Goodyear and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) announced a new pan-European research project to investigate the attitudes and readiness of drivers to share the road with autonomous vehicles.

The research will capture driver opinions from 11 European countries through surveys and focus groups as part of Goodyear's ThinkGoodMobility platform, focused on smart, safe and sustainable future mobility.

READ MORE: http://www.wheels24.co.za/News/Gear_and_Tech/will-self-driving-cars-be-bullied-on-the-road-20160803

 

Were this showdown between a stock C7 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and stock R35 Nissan GT-R, there wouldn’t be any doubt about who the victor would be. The rear-wheel-drive, and manual-equipped Corvette would be no match for the GT-R’s all-wheel-drive, dual clutch setup. However, these cars are not stock, and therefore, this battle is a real treat to watch.

Not much information is given on either car, other than that the GT-R was built and tuned by FFTEC. There’s also mention of the GT-R having Alpha Performance’s Alpha 7 package installed, which adds a wealth of parts and unlocks the full potential of the twin-turbo V6 to the point of 700 horsepower on 93 octane pump fuel.

No mention is made of who did the nitrous install on the Corvette, but seeing as it worked, I’d say it’s a safe bet that it was a professional job, not a D.I.Y. deal.

READ MORE: http://news.boldride.com/2016/07/corvette-stingray-nitrous-nissan-gt-r-drag-race-video/108212/

 

The parking lot of an open-air music and dance festival in Portugal resembles a vehicle graveyard after a wildfire gutted 422 cars.

Police on Thursday inspected the long lines of charred vehicles and insurance investigators assessed the damage.

READ MORE: http://www.wheels24.co.za/News/car-nage-music-festival-fire-burns-hundreds-of-cars-20160804

 

Nissan unveiled the working prototype of its futuristic BladeGlider vehicle, combining zero-emissions with high-performance in a revolutionary sports car design.

 

The vehicles, developed from concept cars first shown at the Tokyo Auto Show in 2013, have arrived in Brazil to symbolise future technologies that will combine Intelligent Mobility, environmentally-friendly impact and sports-car driving capabilities.

READ MORE: http://www.wheels24.co.za/NewModels/nissan-reveals-futuristic-ev-meet-the-bladeglider-20160805

 

Remember the way your car looked when you first took it home from the dealership? That new car smell, dust-free dashboard, and spotless carpets. Chances are your car has not looked like that in quite some time!

Tyroola lists a number of cleaning hacks that won’t just help you deep-clean your car like a pro, but will also help you save some cash.

READ MORE: http://www.wheels24.co.za/AutoTrader/15-surprising-ways-to-clean-your-car-20160805

 

Though respect is hard to get in the awfully macho world of off-roading, I did get some positive bro vibes as I rolled along on two of the absolute gnarliest stretches I’ve driven in Colorado, in one very old-fashioned but remarkably capable vehicle, the off-road-optimized Nissan Frontier Pro-4X.

This included an Idaho Springs-to-Georgetown transit on the totally scary Saxon Mountain Road, a switchback-laden shelf road that offered some truly dangerous obstacles in uncleared slide sections, as well as a scoot part of the way up Pole Hill Road outside of Estes Park — a trail that is basically a rock staircase in spots.

In both instances, drivers of heavily modified Jeep Wrangler rock-crawlers caught up to me and the small but spunky Frontier and seemed genuinely nonplussed that a stock truck — hardened considerably with a set of life-saving Hankook Dynapro offroad tires — could possibly be doing as well as their purpose-built 4WDs.

READ MORE: http://www.summitdaily.com/news/23061430-113/mountain-wheels-old-school-nissan-frontier-pro-4x-is-an

 

Nissan has declared this as its "year of the truck," with fresh changes coming for the Titan, Armada, Pathfinder and Rogue. But in a larger view, the automaker has entered into a new era of product development, focused on volume, major freshenings and more content-rich models.

Later this year, for the third time in two years, the automaker will roll out a midcycle freshening of a core product that goes beyond traditional updates of the past. The 2017 Pathfinder crossover will receive a significant update this year on the same scale that the Altima and Sentra got last year. Company sources say the freshening will represent the most expensive midpoint update in the company's history.

At the same time, a new variation of the Rogue will appear, giving the surging crossover a lower-priced variant based on the popular European Qashqai.

READ MORE: http://www.autonews.com/article/20160725/OEM04/307259989/nissan-declares-its-year-of-the-truck

 

 

Compiled by Danie Marais

 

 

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