Last week we saw a Panasonic system designed to make life in the car easier by removing the bother of straining to look out the rear window. Today we have a new car from Nissan that can pretty much drive itself.

The new Fuga model will appear in Japan next week with two high-end driver aids pre-installed - Nissan's Intelligent Cruise Control and Distance Control Assist.

Removing human error

The names are probably enough to tell you what's going on, but the way they mesh with the human side of the equation may be less so. The key part of both systems is a radar unit in the front bumper that monitors distance to the car in front.

When pre-set parameters tell it the gap between cars is too small, the Distance Control Assist can increase the safety zone by a combination of activating the brakes and pushing the accelerator pedal back against the driver's foot to get him to ease off.

The Intelligent Cruise Control, on the other hand, is a cruise control with a twist. It allows the driver to take his foot off the pedals when in cruise mode, but brings the added safety tweak of checking the car's satnav to predict bends in the road and automatically slow down. Once safely negotiated, it's back to full speed ahead again.