BEIJING – Call it driving with Chinese characteristics.
Nissan Motor Co., which sells more automobiles in China than any other Japanese carmaker, has signed an agreement to work with the China Automotive Technology and Research Center to adapt safety features such as lane keeping and collision avoidance to suit the country’s driving habits and road conditions.
This class of safety features, commonly referred to in the industry as advanced driver assistance systems, are seen as an intermediate step toward the ultimate goal of autonomous vehicles. By using sensors and computer programs to anticipate, warn and take preventive measures, carmakers like Nissan are seeking to reduce traffic accidents caused by human error.
“We hope Nissan’s ADAS truly suits the China market and for that we need to master Chinese driving habits and traffic conditions,” said Joyce Cheng, a company spokeswoman. “We hope to develop a protocol with Catarc to determine what ADAS technologies are truly suitable for China.”
Catarc was set up by the central government in 1985 as the official research body to study and formulate automotive industry policy and is a unit of the state-assets regulator under the State Council, or Cabinet. Lane cutting and tailgating are the common causes of traffic accidents in China, Nissan said, citing a Chinese study.
Nissan’s sales in China rose 6.3 percent to 1.25 million units, placing it ahead of Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.