Cars

Exclusive: Nissan’s Emergency Braking System Compromised by Faulty Radars

Nissan Forward Radar Issue
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A faulty radar module is putting the automatic emergency braking system in certain Nissan vehicles at risk. The company is now working on obtaining replacement parts and resolving the issue.

Understanding Nissan’s Intelligent Safety Shield

Under the umbrella of Nissan’s Intelligent Safety Shield, there are multiple technologies aimed at enhancing driver assistance and safety. One of these technologies is the automatic emergency braking (AEB) system. This system relies on a front grille radar to monitor the vehicle’s proximity to the car in front, providing collision warnings and applying the brakes when necessary. However, some radar modules, which are third-party components supplied by Bosch, are leading the radar sensors to deactivate themselves. As a result, the adaptive cruise control and the emergency braking system are disabled, and a warning message appears on the dashboard stating, “Front radar unavailable due to obstruction.”

After Digital Trends brought this issue to Nissan’s attention in relation to the 2018 Nissan Sentra, the company acknowledged the problem and is taking steps to replace the faulty part.

Nissan Forward Bosch Radar Module Issue
The forward-facing radar is vital to the automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control systems. However, faulty modules in brand new Nissan Sentras, like the one shown here, are causing concerns for owners. – Jeremy Kaplan/Digital Trends

According to Dan Bedore, Director of Communications for Nissan, “Nissan is aware of a relatively small number of Sentra customers experiencing similar conditions to those described. Our engineering team has identified the problem as a supplied-component issue… Nissan is in the process of obtaining counter-measure parts and informing our dealers about the remedy, which is expected to be available in the coming weeks.”

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This issue may extend beyond just one model, highlighting a worrisome trend in the automotive industry. As cars increasingly rely on radar, lidar, and camera technologies, the limitations of these systems are becoming more apparent.

The Scope of the Problem

Although Nissan only acknowledges the radar issue in Sentras, drivers of various models, including Armadas, Altimas, and Muranos, have reported similar troubles.

2018 Nissan Sentra
This Bosch radar module serves as the “eyeball” of the automatic emergency braking system in certain Nissans, as well as potentially in many other brands. – Jeremy Kaplan/Digital Trends

Nissan states that the Intelligent Safety Shield feature is standard in several models, such as the 2018 Altima, 2018 Leaf, 2018.5 Rogue Sport, 2018 Rogue, 2018 Murano, and 2018 Pathfinder. However, different platforms and models use different parts.

By the end of the year, roughly 1,000,000 Nissan vehicles will be equipped with standard automatic emergency braking (AEB).

While Bosch is assisting Nissan with this issue, the company declined to specify which other automakers use the radar module or who manufactures the radar chips within them. Bosch stated, “We do not comment on the actions of our customers. We are closely collaborating with Nissan to support them in their efforts. We hope you understand that only the automaker can provide detailed answers.”

Potential for a Recall?

AEB systems and other driver assistance technologies are gaining popularity, but it seems that the technology may not be keeping up with demands. Experts describe current automotive radar systems as “shortsighted” and lacking the resolution to accurately detect objects close to the vehicle. These systems can also produce false alarms when metallic objects like discarded soda cans are mistaken for potential collisions, thereby increasing the risk of accidents.

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Exclusive: Faulty radars are compromising Nissan’s emergency braking system
The 2018 Nissan Sentra – Nissan

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) fully supports AEB and similar systems, considering them potentially significant advancements in vehicle safety. However, in regards to this specific issue, NHTSA believes Nissan is taking appropriate measures, and the driver’s safety was never compromised. Recalls are typically initiated based on the number of complaints, whether the manufacturer offers a solution, and most importantly, the number of related injuries or deaths.

Nissan assures us that they understand the concerns of their customers when they see warning messages. In this case, the vehicle is designed to communicate the system fault to the driver by displaying a notice that AEB, previously known as forward emergency braking (FEB), is currently unavailable due to a system issue. It is crucial to note that critical safety systems are unaffected.

Editors’ Recommendations:

  • Over 800 motorists said their Nissan slammed on its brakes for no reason

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