INFINITI’s customers have stated their desire to remain a key element in the driving equation, so the brand’s vision for autonomous driving is a step removed from the notion of fully-autonomous ‘driverless’ motoring embraced by some carmakers.
Allowing drivers to retain ultimate control over their vehicle, the ‘co-pilot’ function of INFINITI’s autonomous drive support technologies empowers and gives confidence to the driver, and ‘delegates’ more onerous driving tasks to the machine. These tasks include navigating stop-start traffic on the highway by monitoring the position of vehicles in front of the QX50.
ProPILOT is the umbrella term under which all future INFINITI autonomous drive support technologies will be based and represents the first step in their development. These technologies are designed to support the driver in identifying and responding to other road users and potential hazards. Drawing on inputs from radar and camera to read the road ahead and monitor the position of vehicles in front, the system allows the car to react accordingly. The framework that underpins ProPILOT will be developed in the future with a series of new functionalities.
The suite of autonomous drive support technologies in the QX50 is called ProPILOT Assist, which, as a package, helps the driver control acceleration, braking and steering during single-lane highway driving.
Equipped for the first time in an INFINITI model, ProPILOT Assist effectively reduces the stress of stop-and-go driving and highway cruises. Acting as the driver’s ‘co-pilot’, ProPILOT Assist takes over single-lane driving operation at the push of a button, without the driver’s input on acceleration, braking, or steering. The driver can choose to let the car operate on their behalf in stop-start traffic.
The technologies that make up the full suite of QX50’s ProPILOT Assist system include Direct Adaptive Steering and Intelligent Cruise Control. These are supported by additional technologies, including: Distance Control Assist; Back-up Collision Intervention; Predictive Forward Collision Warning; Blind Spot Warning and Intervention; Lane Departure Warning and Prevention; and Forward Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection. Other notable safety features available to QX50 buyers include pre-crash seat belt technology, adaptive front lighting with high beam assist, a tire inflation indicator, and lighter steering for certain parking situations.
The QX50 features a fourth-generation version of INFINITI’s Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) - the first SUV and first front-wheel drive application of the system. DAS is a steer-by-wire system that supports autonomous driving by providing smooth operation, allowing for more direct steering responses and easy maneuverability. DAS is an enabler to steering systems that will form a key building block on the way to achieving comprehensive autonomous drive functionality. The ‘steer-by-wire’ system eliminates the need for mechanically linked parts, instead employing digital components to improve steering feel and feedback. The connection between the driver and DAS is instantaneous, thanks to the electronic connection between components.
It is DAS that underpins many of the QX50’s ProPILOT Assist functions; a traditional mechanical steering system suffers from too much inertia for the car to steer itself in many situations. DAS works with ProPILOT Assist to enable a range of single-lane autonomous driving support functions. The steer-by-wire system links with the autonomous function to provide intelligent lane-keeping when driving in a straight line and through curves, while offering drivers precise, high-feedback steering with ProPILOT Assist turned off.
The INFINITI QX50 connects users to the car with its InTouch infotainment system. InTouch allows the driver to access vehicle comfort and entertainment settings via dual screens at the center of the instrument panel.
Upon entering the car, the QX50 will recognize the driver and remember a range of settings via profiles saved in the car’s Intelligent Key. For example, the system automatically reverts to preset seat, mirror and steering wheel positions, according to recorded driver preference. InTouch also recalls entertainment options and the preferred layout of on-screen displays, along with the most recent Drive Mode Selections – all adding to the sense of personalization within the car.
Users can interact intuitively with InTouch, either through the dual touchscreen displays or through the INFINITI Controller, a dial on the center armrest. Occupants can also connect to InTouch via a hand-held device, meaning passengers can stream media from smartphones, tablets, MP3 players and notebooks, connecting devices with one of the four USB ports, or via Bluetooth for wireless music streaming and voice calls. Video can also be connected and played back, and InTouch can synchronize with a phone’s digital calendar. In certain markets, the InTouch system is compatible with telematics features, such as ‘remote start’ and ‘locate vehicle’.
The QX50’s interior functions have been ergonomically designed and presented to make the user experience intuitive and simple. The cockpit places driver functions within easy reach, while the view over the dash is not obstructed by instruments, allowing the driver to observe the road ahead and check on gauges and panels at a glance. An intuitive Human Machine Interface (HMI) takes the stress out of driving for greater comfort on longer journeys. The system adopts smartphone-style controls, and each of the two screens can be operated with pinch-in/out operation.
A four-monitor display supports the driver by showing information where it is needed, when it is needed. The monitors are positioned for quick-and-easy consumption of information while on the move. The setup includes: