Golfing is a game of skill and concentration and whispering announcers. It’s not easy to get that tiny little golf ball into the hole, and Nissan feels your pain. To give you a little help, the engineers at Nissan applied their autonomous driving technology to a golf ball.
ProPilot Assist is a semi-autonomous driving technology that is currently available in Nissan’s vehicles. To activate this feature, you simply press a button on the steering wheel and set the Intelligent Cruise Control speed. As soon as the system finds lane markings, ProPilot then becomes active.
It controls your speed, steering, and braking, even taking you down to a complete stop if traffic slows. If you’re stopped for more than three seconds, a light tap on the accelerator or pressing the resume button reactivates the system.
Although this sounds like self-driving technology, it’s not fully autonomous. You do need to keep your hands lightly on the wheel and ProPilot Assist is smart enough to know if you take your hands away. It issues visual and audible warnings to take the wheel and will eventually stop the car if the driver refuses to take over. It’s nifty technology, and now Nissan has applied it to a golf ball.
Just like ProPilot Assist keeps your car going where you want it to go on the road, the ProPilot golf ball never misses the hole. It has an external camera that looks through a little hole in the ball and an internal motor that directs the ball in the right direction.
This comes right out of Japan and is a preview of ProPilot 2.0, which is the latest version of ProPilot Assist. It’s launching soon in Japan, but no announcement has been made for its release in the United States.
The difference between the existing technology and the newest release is the addition of hands-free driving, lane changing, and the ability to exit the highway. Nissan shows off the idea with golf balls that turn into the hole in a way that no golfer could ever manage.
This is only a prototype golf ball, so all your golfers who suddenly thought you’d be able to play the game perfectly will just have to keep practicing your swing.