Hong Kong - This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, a monumental achievement in the history of mankind. Lessons learned from 20 July 1969 are still felt today, with the innovations of space travel percolating down into everyday situations of the 21st Century – such as driving.
During a speech on a warm sunny day in September 1962, U.S. President John F Kennedy exclaimed "We choose to go to the moon!" Less than seven years later, the US accomplished this audacious goal, when Neil Armstrong safely piloted the Eagle lunar module onto the moon's surface.
Despite this success, however, the landing was not a smooth one. Six thousand feet above the moon and five minutes into the descent, the crew realized that the module's pre-programmed autonomous landing system had failed. As the module soared past the designated landing spot, Armstrong took direct control of the craft, overriding the autonomous system to land safely on the surface of Earth's nearest neighbor.
That day, Armstrong made a strong case for humans to retain ultimate control over their machines.
And this is an approach INFINITI has followed when developing driver assistance technologies for its new models. The INFINITI QX50's available suite of advanced ProPILOT Assist technologies that merge seamlessly with driver inputs. The result is a vehicle which lets owners enjoy everyday moon landings of their own.
As driver assistance technology develops, INFINITI believes these systems can help reduce the stress of driving. The QX50's ProPILOT Assist system can do many things, including maintaining set speeds and distances on the highway, for instance, or helping to keep the car in the center of its lane, even around gentle curves.
However, INFINITI still wants to let drivers retain control of their vehicles. This doesn't just form a more emotional connection between car and driver – it also gives the driver the option to override the driver assistance technologies. Like Armstrong's example, set 50 years ago, this means drivers can react to different driving situations, and bring their own experience to bear.
These 'everyday moon landings' – the desire for a level of human control and finesse in the face of autonomous technologies – aren't just limited to driving.
Take autonomous lawnmowers, for example. This is an innovation that saves owners from having to cut the grass every other weekend, the gift of time for many, but some owners often finish the job themselves, purely to create the perfect stripes in their freshly-mown grass.
At airports, autonomous parking pods enable passengers to travel to and from their desired terminal with ease. But it's often still down to the passenger to decide when to close the doors for the ride. The machine won't necessarily know that another passenger might be running to catch the last pod in the dock – something a human may recognize before they hit the 'go' button.
And it's this human-centric approach that INFINITI adopted when developing the QX50's ProPILOT Assist driver assist technologies. None of its features are designed to remove control from the driver, but are designed to make driving less stressful. Like Armstrong landing the Eagle lunar module, the machine can do some of the heavy-lifting, but the driver brings the finesse.
INFINITI is committed to developing new driving technologies, with the technology as an enhancement to the driving experience, rather than a replacement. INFINITI models such as the QX50 are still capable of delighting drivers with a fun and rewarding experience at the wheel, but the car makes that experience less stressful.
As the Apollo 11 mission demonstrated half a century ago, the combination of human control and advanced technology means we can all enjoy our own 'everyday moon landings' from the comfort of our own cars.
# # #
INFINITI Motor Company Ltd., with representation in markets around the world, will electrify its portfolio in the next three years. The INFINITI brand, launched in 1989, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Its range of premium automobiles is currently built in manufacturing facilities in Japan, North America and China. INFINITI design studios are located in Atsugi-Shi near Yokohama, London, San Diego and Shanghai. The brand has been widely acclaimed for its daring design and innovative driver-assistance technologies. From the 2016 season, INFINITI is a technical partner of the Renault F1 Team, contributing its expertise in hybrid performance.
More information about INFINITI and its industry leading technologies can be found at www.INFINITI.com. You can also follow INFINITI on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and see all our latest videos on YouTube.