Nissan has unveiled a radical-looking concept called the IDS, which reportedly hints at the styling of the next-generation LEAF.
Like the LEAF, the Nissan IDS concept is a hatchback and fully electric, relying on a 60kWh battery pack to run the onboard motors.
However, the IDS has a much sportier design in comparison, featuring numerous sharp lines and creases and a low roof line to create a more aerodynamic, almost coupe-like profile.
With a body shell made entirely out of lightweight carbon fibre, the Nissan IDS is not only fully electric but also has an autonomous driving mode – called Piloted Drive.
With Piloted Drive onboard, the IDS and any other cars utilising it are able to maintain station by itself while in a single lane. It will be most useful, therefore, while driving on a motorway or dual carriageway.
The Piloted Drive function on the IDS can imitate how it is driven and use information on road conditions - provided by sensors - to corner, accelerate and brake in an appropriate manner while keeping the car in its lane.
Drivers will be able to choose whether to have Piloted Drive mode on or switch to a manual setting and retain full control of the vehicle. Even in the manual setting, the various cameras, lasers and radar sensors used for Piloted Drive will still allow it to anticipate and react to any danger caused by other road users.
Nissan is aiming to introduce Piloted Drive to new cars sold in Japan by the end of 2016. Realistically then, the earliest this autonomous driving feature will reach the UK market is 2017 – the same time that the next-generation Nissan LEAF is rumoured to be scheduled for arrival.