Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has announced the introduction of Intelligent Vehicle Towing (IVT), a fully automated vehicle towing system, at its Oppama Plant, in Japan.
Nissan has worked on making the relationship between people, cars and society more exciting under its Intelligent Mobility vision, a framework for how cars will be driven, powered, and integrated into society. This new project, which utilizes mapping and communication technologies to link an intelligent and all-electric car to infrastructure, is a step towards the realization of Nissan Intelligent Integration.
The IVT system uses a modified Nissan LEAF to autonomously tow trollies carrying finished vehicles between designated loading and unloading points at the plant.
Unlike conventional automatic guided vehicle systems for transporting parts, which often require the installation of rails or extensive use of magnetic tape, this system does not need any special infrastructure to operate. The towing car is equipped with an array of cameras and laser scanners that detect lane markings, curbs and potential obstacles or hazards around the vehicle. By cross-referencing this information with map data, the towing car calculates its own location, negotiating the route to its destination unaided. The towing car travels within the speed limits of the factory, and automatically stops if it detects an obstacle or hazard ahead, before setting off again when it has determined that the road ahead is clear.
The towing route can easily be altered to accommodate changes in production processes or vehicle transport routes.