Nissan will make its ProPilot Assist technology available on its most popular car in the US. While the 2018 Leaf was announced as the first Nissan to get ProPilot Assist, that model won’t be available in the US until February. Therefore, the 2018 Rogue will be the first to get what is the company’s platform for future self-driving technology.
ProPilot Assist in the Rogue is a Level 1 self-driving system, allowing the vehicle to control speed, distance from other cars, and keeping the car in the intended lane with minimal input from the driver. Cameras detect lane markings at highway speeds and then adaptive cruise control, lane-keep, and blind spot detection systems keep you in that lane until you deliberately change lanes.
I’ve tried ProPilot Assist in both a prototype Rogue and an early production 2018 Leaf. While the Rogue detected the lanes on a Los Angeles freeway mostly accurately, and proved to help reduce the stress of weekday traffic, the Leaf was less reliable. But even with that, ProPilot Assist is one of the best Level 1 systems offered on a mainstream vehicle, putting it in the reach of consumers who don’t want to spring for the more advanced systems on a $100,000 Tesla or Mercedes-Benz, for example.
It’s notable that Nissan has put the system on its most popular car in the United States. The Rogue is the fifth best-selling vehicle in the country through September of this year, and nearly 330,000 of them were sold in all of 2016. A Nissan USA spokesperson told The Verge Rogue customers are more likely to be in the situations where ProPilot Assist is most effective: long periods of highway driving with occasional congestion. The Rogue’s popularity also helps spread word of the technology faster, Nissan said. Future Nissan models will get it, but the company hasn’t given a timetable for that.
What Nissan has given a timetable for, however, for expanding ProPilot’s abilities. The company said earlier this year it wants to add steering, braking, and accelerator assistance for multi-lane highway driving within two years, rather than the single-lane system that it is now. And in four years, it will add city driving abilities. ProPilot is also expected to be the basis of the driver assistance systems offered in future Renault and Mitsubishi models, as well.
For 2018, it will be available on the most expensive Rogue SL with the available Premium Package, which Nissan says should start at around $35,000. It’s a shame it won’t be a standalone option, because you’ll be forced to get things like 19-inch wheels and leather seats to get ProPilot Assist. But if you are in the market for a $35,000 SUV anyway, it’s worth seriously considering.