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Nissan motorized golf ball can't miss -- demonstrates autonomous car navigation tech

In order to demonstrate just how accurate their new ProPILOT 2.0 driver assistance technology is, Nissan has created an electronic golf ball filled with navigation tech that makes it to the hole every time. And to prove it works, they filmed a 4-year-old boy sinking putt after difficult putt.

VIDEO: Nissan ProPILOT golf ball tech turns preschooler into golf prodigy.

ProPILOT 2.0 engages with the vehicle's navigation system to help maneuver the car according to a predefined route on designated roadways. Nissan says the system is "designed for on-ramp to off-ramp (ramp-to-ramp) highway driving" and will debut on the new Nissan Skyline in September in Japan.

The system is also the first in the world to be combined with a hands-off driving capability while cruising in a single lane, but the hands-off feature "is not available on roads that have two-way traffic, in tunnels, on winding roads, in tollgate areas, merging lanes or areas with a decreasing number of lanes, and in areas where manual control is required." Phew!

But what about the incredible golf ball? Well, it's impressive, it's cheating, and it's fun. Most of all, it's a little smoke and mirrors that does an extremely convincing job of showing how good the Nissan nav tech could be.

The ProPILOT golf ball supports golfers by following a predefined route to its goal -- just like the Skyline's ProPILOT 2.0 advanced technology. The big idea to get across is that players can feel confident that they will reach their target effortlessly on each putt -- just like they should feel when using ProPILOT tech in Nissan cars.

The ball uses Nissan's Intelligent Mobility (the company's vision for how cars are powered, driven, and integrated into society) to navigate its way across the green and into the cup on the first putt, providing a stress-free golf experience.

But what you don't see in the video is that an overhead camera detects the position of the ball and cup. When the ball is hit, a monitoring system calculates the correct route based on the ball's movement and adjusts its trajectory. Combining sensing technology with an internal electric motor, the ProPILOT golf ball stays on route until reaching the cup -- making even novice golfers, of all ages, feel like pros.

Nissan has a long history of coming up with a clever concepts inspired by its Intelligent Mobility technologies. Previously, their engineers have created:

An Intelligent Parking Chair

The ProPILOT Chair


The ProPILOT Park Ryokan (featuring self-parking slippers)

Source: Nissan Motor Co.

Published September 2019

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