64 jams in the most traffic-intense cities to make ProPilot Assist work better
Imagine waiting hours for traffic to get worse so you can go out in it
Think your internship was a dull one? This engineering intern with Nissan spent months stuck in traffic. Not getting back and forth to the company’s offices, but deliberately. As a way to test out the brand’s stop and go traffic assist systems in some of the worst jams in the USA.
Tyler Szymkowski started his internship with Nissan’s Michigan technical center in 2018, back when getting stuck in an hours-long jam was still a thing. When he saw a dark red line on his traffic updates map, the engineer headed out in his test vehicle to collect data fo the rest of the North American tech center team.
At that point, Nissan’s start-stop could only stay stopped for three seconds before requiring a driver input to restart the vehicle. “Customers were telling us that three seconds wasn’t long enough,” said Brittany Tessmer, a Nissan senior project engineer in advanced driver-assistance systems. “How long the system could sit and then reengage to make the experience more seamless was something we needed to pinpoint. If three seconds isn’t long enough, then what is?”
That’s why Szymkowski spent time sitting in 64 standstill traffic jams in cities like LA, DC, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and San Francisco. To find out how much time for a restart was needed.
“I got a very realistic taste of what customers experience in major cities,” said Szymkowski. “There were hundreds of additional hours spent basically waiting for a traffic jam.”
Now the latest ProPilot Assist system can stay stationary for up to 30 seconds before the driver needs to touch the gas to restart with traffic. It’s one of the three major improvements to the system, with the others the map-based speed adjustment for curves and ramps and the other the option of posted limit speed adjustment.
No longer an intern, Szymkowski is now an engineer full-time with Nissan, working on human machine interface and how ProPilot enhances customer connections. We’re guessing he lives as close to the office as possible.