Nissan's New Safety Tech Knows When You Hit The Gas By Mistake

October 12, 2012

You've probably heard of "Brake Assist", the in-car technology that automatically slows a vehicle when the onboard computer senses that a collision is imminent.

You've probably also heard of "Lane Assist", which lets drivers know when they've drifted out of their travel lane.

Now, Nissan has introduced something called "Emergency Assist for Pedal Misapplication". And yes, it's exactly what it sounds like: a high-tech tool that compensates when drivers accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake -- you know, like women often do. (We kid, we kid.)

According to Nissan, this new feature is specifically designed to cut back on accidents in "parking lots and other spaces where a car could collide with walls if a driver mistakenly depresses the accelerator instead of the brake pedal". We'd like to think that the technology will reduce potential run-ins with pedestrians and other vehicles, too, though it's not yet clear that it will.

The system makes use of four cameras on Nissan's "Around View Monitor", paired with sonar sensors. Together, these gadgets detect when a vehicle is in a parking space and if there are walls in its path of travel. Though it doesn't automatically park or un-park vehicles, it can take over the accelerator and the brake if necessary to avoid a collision.

The "Emergency Assist for Pedal Misapplication (with Carpark Detection Function)" is all part of Nissan's Vision Zero safety plan, which has the very lofty goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and injuries from accidents. The Vision Zero plan has led to the creation of a "Safety Shield" for Nissan vehicles, which works to address safety shortcomings on vehicles and counter them during accidents.

While this technology sounds interesting and very useful, leading us one step closer toward fully autonomous vehicles, it's not going to appear on U.S. cars -- at least not anytime soon. It's scheduled to debut on the Nissan Elgrand, a luxury van available only in Japan and key Asian markets. That's a logical choice, since the Elgrand has been the guinea pig for much of Nissan's new safety equipment, and since the Elgrand's well-heeled owners probably don't mind shelling out for this sort of technology.

Does this kind of safety technology interest you? When it rolls out to vehicles in the U.S. and elsewhere, will you buy it? Drop us a line, or leave a note in the comments below.

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