Nissan Car Parks Itself, Catches Would-Be Thieves

Dennis Faas's picture

A prototype car offers self-driving technology with a twist: valet-style parking. The Nissan vehicle, which is codenamed NSC-2015, can also foil thieves by streaming live footage of a potential break-in.

This new model was recently shown off by Nissan at a tech conference in Tokyo.

Several companies are already working on driverless cars. However, in the few locations where their use is or will be allowed, laws say a driver must be inside the vehicle to take over in case of a malfunction.

Nissan could circumvent these laws if the feature is used only on private land, such as driveways and parking lots. The system is also fairly safe, as it performs its self-parking feat at a speed of only three miles per hour.

Tests have shown that the vehicle can recognize road markings and stop at crossings. Nissan hasn't said whether it intends the vehicle to be used without a human driver on the open road, once it goes on sale.

Smartphone App Replaces Valet Parking

While some existing vehicles can use sensors to parallel park, the NSC-2015 takes over the entire parking process.

Nissan says the driver can exit the car at a convenient spot and then issue a park command via smartphone. The car will then drive around a parking lot, hunt down an open space, and park itself.

The smartphone also notes the driver's location, so when the driver wants the car to return, a press of a button on the smartphone app will bring the car to the same spot where they previously got out of it.

There is a major limitation, however: the technology works only in parking lots with special sensors on each space, and with restrictions on human drivers to prevent collisions with unpredictable non-automated cars.

Since parking lot owners have no incentive to convert parking lots to automated vehicles, Nissan is reportedly working on a way to get its cars to drive and park in conventional lots. (Source:

High-Tech Vehicle Uses Remote Security Camera

Until then, people will likely appreciate the NSC-2015 more for its new security feature.

While parked, the car senses any attempted break-ins, and alerts the driver via smartphone, including live video footage from an on-board camera that could help track down the offender.

The sensors can even be set to alert the owner when someone is simply standing near the car. The owner can view that footage, too, and if necessary trigger an alarm. (Source:

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