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Monday, July 27, 2009

For the last century, automotive engineers have worked diligently to send Charles Darwin's concept of natural selection into obsolescence. It appears that we're inching closer to the time when any fool with a pulse may be able to climb behind the wheel of car and traverse a series of curves looking much more like the white-helmeted mystery driver from Top Gear than Captain Slow. The new Nissan Fuga (known here as the Infiniti M), debuting this fall at the Tokyo Motor Show, will feature fresh technology including new driver assistance systems.

In this case, Infiniti has integrated the GPS navigation system (hope those satellites hang in there) with the M's electronic stability control. As always, ESC uses inertial sensors to detect what the car is actually doing and compares that information to the actual driver inputs to see if they match. If not (i.e. understeer or oversteer) the brakes are individually applied at each wheel and engine torque may be reduced to help make the car go where the driver intended.

The GPS integration allows the system to detect where the road is going ahead and further manipulate the car, while alerting the driver to slow down by pushing the throttle back against his or her footn. Maybe it's all just a part of Nissan's master plan to save trees by preventing cars from being wrapped around them. Or perhaps we're just seeing the evolution of the Idiocracy.


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