Automotive Engineering Exposition 2019: Exhibits by Toyota and Nissan

Toyota's CASE related technologies, Nissan's ProPilot 2.0 and 62kWh lithium-ion battery



 This report describes the exhibits of Toyota and Nissan at the Automotive Engineering Exhibition 2019 held in May 2019 at the Pacifico Yokohama convention center.

The “Toyota Concept-i” displayed at the center of the Toyota booth

 Toyota is promoting automated driving and EVs, and aims to ensure that “cars will continue to be loved, even in a future where driving has been automated”. At the center of the booth, Toyota displayed its "Toyota Concept i", which clearly expressed this Toyota concept.

 Toyota used parts displays and panels to surround the Concept-i exhibit to describe the wide variety of CASE related technologies that it is developing such as those related to electrification, connected, autonomous driving, and safety.

 Nissan exhibited its ProPilot 2.0 system, the all-new Dayz mini-vehicle, the VC-Turbo engine, and a newly developed lithium-ion battery with an energy storage capacity of 62 kWh. Nissan demonstrated that it aims to achieve steady growth in the future centered on its Nissan Intelligent Mobility management policy, and introduced a number of new products and technologies.

Related reports:

Toyota Automated Driving: The Guardian and Chauffeur approaches(March 2018)
Toyota's Mobility Strategy: Introducing DCM as standard equipment (August 2018)
Nissan LEAF Teardown: Lithium-ion battery pack structure(December 2018)
Research on revolutionary combustion technology: Contemplating the limits of innovation (November 2016)




Toyota: Exhibits a series of CASE related technologies


The Toyota Concept-i is able to intimately understand the driver over time to become a "beloved car"

 Toyota exhibited the Toyota Concept-i at the center of its booth, and used parts displays and panels around the exhibit to describe the advanced technologies related to electrification, intelligence, and computerization that will be required for Toyota to fully transform itself into a Mobility Company.

 Toyota described the Concept-i series technologies as being part of Toyota’s vision for future mobility that uses AI to enable future cars to better understand, learn, and grow with the driver and become their irreplaceable partner over time, while always supporting the driver. The Concept-i series name is a play on the Japanese word for love, which is pronounced like the letter "I". The Concept-i series aims to become a “beloved car" by the concept of "more than a machine, a partner".


Drowsiness Estimation: Essential for the establishment of automated driving

 Toyota introduced demonstrations that it has conducted on "drowsiness estimation" to detect the drowsiness of the driver. Driver monitoring systems are essential for the establishment of SAE Level 2 standard autonomous driving functionality under specific conditions and Level 3 conditional autonomous driving capability. The system functions to detect eye and mouth features with an IR (infrared) camera, detect facial orientation and motion with distance sensor data, and deep learning technology is used to perform complex calculations to estimate driver facial expressions and motions to detect decreased alertness for the various levels of inattentiveness that the driver may be unaware. Toyota plans to commercialize the system by around 2020.


Electrification related technology: Wireless charging, all-solid-state Li-ion battery, etc.

 Electrification is an important area of the CASE technology trends, and Toyota is aiming to reduce CO2 emissions of new vehicles by 90% from 2010 levels by 2050 as part of the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, and further reduce CO2 emissions throughout the entire vehicle life cycle to zero. At this year’s exhibition, Toyota exhibited the development status of its wireless charging system and all-solid-state lithium-ion batteries.

非接触充電 全固体Liイオン電池 シリコンPCUとSiC PCU試作品
Wireless charging (image), generates a magnetic field from the primary coil on the infrastructure side, and converts it to current with the onboard secondary coil All-solid-state Li-ion battery (charging image), where the upper part of the image is a liquid electrolyte battery, and the lower part is the all-solid-state battery Silicon PCU (mass production) and a SiC PCU prototype

Introduction of electrification related technology

Wireless charging  When surveyed, many EV and PHEV users expressed dissatisfaction, such as "inconvenient and annoying", with charging using cables. To resolve this issue, Toyota is developing wireless charging using the "magnetic resonance method" (see upper left image). In the future, Toyota is considering combining "wireless charging + automated parking".
All-solid-state lithium-ion battery  The all-solid-state Li-ion battery is a battery in which the current electrolyte solution and separators have been replaced with a solid electrolyte. With an all-solid-state lithium-ion battery, the moving speed of the lithium ions in the solid electrolyte and at the positive and negative electrodes and the solid electrolyte interface is improved, making it possible to make the battery more compact and to install higher capacity batteries. There are a number of obstacles to be overcome, such as establishing manufacturing methods, but Toyota is aiming for practical use in the first half of the 2020s (see the middle image above).
SiC power semiconductors  SiC (silicon carbide) power semiconductors have less loss than silicon power semiconductors and can be driven at high switching frequencies. The company aims to eventually increase hybrid vehicle fuel efficiency by 10% and reduce the PCU (Power Control Unit) size by 1/5 compared to current silicon-only power semiconductors. (see upper right photo)
New "neodymium–reduced, heat-resistant magnet" for motors  Toyota has developed the world's first neodymium-reduced heat-resistant magnet, which is used in various types of motors such as the high-output motors found in EVs. It uses significantly less neodymium, a rare-earth element, and can be used to ensure performance at high-temperature conditions. The amount of neodymium used is reduced by up to 50% by replacing a portion of the neodymium with the rare earths lanthanum (La) and cerium (Ce), which are cheap and abundant.
 Toyota expects that the magnets will be put to use in the motors of electric power steering for automobiles and other applications in the first half of the 2020s. Furthermore, the company will undertake development of the technology with the aim of practical application in high-performance electrified vehicle drive motors within the next 10 years.
Popularization of FCVs to realize a hydrogen society  Toyota is in the process of promoting the popularization of FCVs. Toyota aims to reach an annual global sales volume 30,000 units of its best-selling FCV, the Mirai, from 2020. Toyota plans to introduce more than 100 FC buses that will be delivered ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. FC Trucks with fuel cell technology are scheduled to start shipping freight in the U.S. in the fall of 2019. In April 2019, Toyota introduced two small FC trucks in Japan.
 In January 2015, Toyota announced its plans to invite royalty-free use of a total of approximately 5,680 FCV related patents that it holds globally (including patents pending), including 1,970 patents related to fuel cell vehicles (FCVs), and 290 patents associated with high-pressure hydrogen tanks. This Toyota initiative is designed to open its intellectual property through collaboration to spur the development and introduction of fuel cell technologies around the world.

Source: Toyota

Automated driving and safety technologies: Commercializing Highway Teammate technologies for automated driving on highways in 2020

 Toyota will deploy automated driving technologies in the pursuit of achieving zero traffic fatalities.

 With respect to automated driving, Toyota will commercialize Highway Teammate for automated driving on highways in 2020, and develop Urban Teammate for automated driving on ordinary roads.

 With respect to safety technologies, Toyota’s direction is to first equip vehicles such as the Lexus LS with the advanced technologies and to incorporate them into the Toyota Safety Sense package to expand the popularization of these advanced technologies into as many vehicles as possible.

Autonomous driving and advanced safety technologies

Mobility Teammate Concept  Toyota has established the Mobility Teammate Concept, which is a unique philosophy that seeks to combine the fun of driving with automated driving by establishing a teammate relationship between people and cars so that they share the same objectives, and stand by and support one another when required as would a close friend.
Highway Teammate and Urban Teammate  Toyota is in the process of developing the Highway Teammate system that will enable automated driving to be possible from the on-ramps to the off-ramps of highways, with plans to put the system into practical use around 2020. Toyota is also developing the Urban Teammate system for fully automated driving on freeways and automated driving on ordinary roads, and plans to continue developing the technology with the aim of making fully automated driving possible on all roads.
Advanced safety technology  Using advanced safety technologies, Toyota is expanding the range of potential causes of traffic fatalities that can be mitigated by the vehicle, and expanding the popularization of the advanced technologies that it has developed into as many vehicles as possible with the goal of achieving a society with zero accidents.
 On vehicles such as the new Lexus LS, Toyota has already been able to realize a number of advanced safety technologies including the Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Alert and Active Steering Assist, a large head-up display (HUD) to alert the presence of pedestrians, Front Cross Traffic Alert, parking support brakes (for pedestrians), and driver emergency braking assist systems.
Popularization of safety technology  Toyota Safety Sense, a preventive safety package that Toyota is in the process of popularizing, includes technologies to mitigate rear end collisions, pedestrian-related accidents, and lane departures, which are the most common causes of traffic fatalities. A total of more than 10 million vehicles equipped with Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) have been shipped globally between March 2015 when TSS was introduced and January 2019, with the number of rear-end collisions involving vehicles equipped with TSS decreasing by more than 70% compared to vehicles not equipped with TSS.

Source: Toyota

Connected services by the standardization of DCMs

 In June 2018, Toyota launched the all-new Crown and new Corolla Sport (hatchback), for which all grades are equipped as standard with an on-board communication device (DCM: Data Communication Module) connected with the vehicle's Controller Area Network (CAN). A variety of connected services will be provided to these vehicles using Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform (MSPF), which is the mobility services information infrastructure for Toyota connected cars. DCM will be installed in almost all passenger cars to be released in the Japanese market in the future, where Toyota will provide various services to make its customers feel more secure using vehicle data collected by the MSPF. Cars, automakers, and dealerships will be seamlessly connected to provide ultimate peace of mind to customers.

 At this year’s exhibition, Toyota introduced a number of comfort and convenience services such as eCare, safety and security equipment related to services such as the Connected Maintenance Package, and operator-assisted services.

 Toyota also introduced a taxi dispatch system that utilizes artificial intelligence.

DCM connected services

Safety and Security  By equipping vehicles with DCM as standard, Toyota can provide services to watch over a customer’s vehicle such as eCare Driving Guidance where dedicated call center operators are available 24/7, eCare Health Check Report that allows the call center to constantly monitor and diagnose the state of the vehicle to provide data to its dealers to have the vehicle brought in for service before trouble occurs, and the Connected Maintenance Package (that provides customers with advice on the optimal maintenance timing interval, when the vehicle should be brought in for maintenance based on vehicle data (mileage) as well as periodic legally required vehicle inspections).
 By equipping vehicles with DCM as standard, Toyota can provide services such as HELPNET (connected to the airbag), Toyota’s Connected Car Insurance plan that can lower insurance premiums based on safe driving scores, and Hybrid Navigation (which transmits optimal destination routes to the navigation system using the latest maps and big data provided by the Toyota Smart Center, and in the event of an emergency provide assistance using the vehicle’s navigation system for example).
Comfort and Convenience  By equipping vehicles with DCM as standard, Toyota can provide services to customers such as operator-assisted services with enhanced functionality, the AI voice Agent, and the LINE My Car Account (by adding a user’s own car as a "friend" using the LINE app, drivers can set navigation destinations and obtain information useful during travel such as weather information).

Source: Toyota

Dispatch support system for taxis utilizing artificial intelligence

 Toyota has developed a dispatch support system that predicts and transmits taxi demand forecasts by combining taxi driving information with other information that affect taxi demand such as demographics and weather forecasts. Toyota uses its Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) with artificial intelligence by analyzing big data to forecast taxi demand. Road testing of the system was conducted from February to April 2018, where the average revenue of taxi drivers using Toyota’s system increased by 11%. Toyota is planning to introduce the dispatch support system on approximately 4,000 taxis in the Tokyo area sequentially from January 2020.

Source: Toyota


Nissan: Exhibited products such as ProPilot 2.0 and the new Dayz mini-vehicle

 Nissan announced its New Nissan Transformation initiative in parallel with the release of its 2018 financial results (May 2019). Nissan aims to achieve steady growth centered on its Nissan Intelligent Mobility management policy that includes technologies such as EV and e-POWER and ProPilot and ProPilot 2.0. At the Automotive Engineering Exposition 2019, Nissan introduced a number of new technologies and products that support such future growth.

 Specifically, the company exhibited its ProPilot 2.0 system, the new Nissan Dayz mini-vehicle, the world's first production VC-Turbo variable compression ratio turbo engine, and a newly developed 62 kWh battery.

ProPilot 2.0: Realization of same lane hands-off driving

 The ProPilot driver-assistance system (first generation) that enables single-lane highway driving using a monocular camera equipped with advanced image processing technology debuted in 2016 on the Nissan Serena minivan in Japan, and afterwards was adopted on the X-Trail, Leaf, and Dayz in 2019. More than 350,000 vehicles around the world are equipped with this technology.

 The new ProPilot 2.0 system that has been recently developed achieves navigation-linked route operation with hands-off single-lane highway driving and is planned to debut on the Japanese-market Nissan Skyline in the fall of 2019. The system is capable of overtaking slower vehicles and changing lanes, but to do so it is necessary for the driver to keep his hands on the steering wheel. When the vehicle returns to the original lane, the driver will then be able to take his hands off the steering wheel again.

 ProPilot 2.0 uses a wide array of sensors including 7 cameras, 5 radars and 12 sonars, and is equipped with 3D high-definition maps. Extensive 3D high-definition map data covering Japan's expressways has just been compiled as of March 2019, and Nissan will be the first automaker in Japan to adopt it for the Pro Pilot 2.0 advanced driver-assistance feature.

 The 3D maps have been created by Dynamic Map Platform Co., Ltd., and are based on the common platform data that is shared and used by a number of automakers, plus information that is collected and maintained by Zenrin in-house. Also, although the system is not equipped with LiDAR, the system will update the 3D maps to the latest status using the camera images.

 The system requires that the driver's gaze is always directed towards the front of the vehicle, which is continuously being confirmed by the driver monitor camera. The driver takes responsibility for the car equipped with the ProPilot 2.0 system, which has the same SAE Level 2 autonomous driving capability as Pro-Pilot. Nissan is taking a completely different approach to the development of Level 3 capability that gives responsibility, even if conditional, for driving the vehicle to the system.

 Nissan plans to install the ProPilot and ProPilot 2.0 system in 20 models to be launched in 20 markets, with sales volumes on the scale of 1 million units in 2022.

ハンズオフが可能 7個のカメラ、5個のレーダー12個のソナーなど 道路上の正確な位置を把握
Same lane hands-off highway driving is possible (requiring the gaze of the driver to be always directed towards the road ahead) Equipped with 7 cameras, 5 radars, 12 sonars, etc. Uses sensors and 3D high-precision maps to obtain 360-degree information of the surrounding environment and the vehicle’s precise location on the road.

Source: Nissan

New “Dayz” mini-vehicle: Newly developed platform and powertrain

 In March 2019, Nissan launched the all-new Dayz mini-vehicle, for which it developed an all-new platform, engine, and CVT, thereby strengthening its product capabilities. According to a survey that the company conducted, more and more users are selecting mini-vehicles as their primary cars, which necessitates meeting the long-distance travel needs of consumers, so Nissan has started to equip its mini-vehicles with its ProPilot system.

Newly developed platform:

 The front overhang of the new Dayz was significantly reduced by using an advanced impact absorption structure and by downsizing the new powertrain. Compared to the previous Dayz model, the wheelbase (2495 mm) has been extended by 65 mm to realize a spacious cabin room.

Engine used exclusively for new model mini vehicles:

 The BR06 engine was newly developed to be used exclusively for mini-vehicles. By using a long stroke engine design, dual injectors and gas fluidization enhance the combustion stability of the air-fuel mixture, resulting in a significant increase in torque. An increase in fuel economy has been achieved by combining the BR06 engine with the new S-Hybrid system in which the sub-battery has been changed to a lithium-ion battery.

Xtronic CVT exclusively for new mini-vehicles:

 By adopting the Xtronic CVT in the design of its Japan domestic mini-vehicles, Nissan has been able to realize smaller packaging and weight reduction (lighter weight by about 4.2 kg, or 6%), and an improvement in fuel efficiency in the top level gear ratio range (6.0) of mini-vehicles.

 To date, Nissan's mini vehicles were equipped with the Xtronic CVTs that have been used on a wide range of mini and compact FF vehicles sold in markets outside of Japan.

日産デイズ BR06エンジンとエクストロニックCVT
The Nissan Dayz mini-vehicle, including the platform, has been newly developed The newly developed BR06 engine and the Xtronic CVT

VC-Turbo engine: Driving while always achieving the optimal compression ratio

Cut model of the VC-Turbo engine

 The VC-Turbo engine is the world's first production variable compression ratio engine to simultaneously achieve both high environmental performance and overwhelming power performance by continuously changing the compression ratio, which is a critical factor that determines thermal efficiency.

 In a gasoline engine, the optimal compression ratio changes depending on the load conditions. However, with a conventional engine, because the pistons and crankshaft are connected directly by the connecting rod, the compression ratio is fixed. The VC-Turbo engine uses a multi-link system in place of a connecting rod to rotate the crankshaft, and an actuator motor changes the multi-link system endpoint in order to vary the pistons’ reach to transform the compression ratio. This makes it possible to vary the compression ratio continuously as needed within the range of 8:1 (for high load) to 14:1 (for low load). The optimal compression ratio can be continuously set to match the operation of the accelerator pedal by the driver.

 The VC-Turbo engine is equipped on the U.S.-designed Infiniti QX50 and Nissan Altima.

 【Video】 How the「VC Turbo」engine works


Newly developed 62kWh battery is equipped on the new Nissan LEAF e+

 Nissan developed the Nissan Leaf e+ equipped with a battery with increased energy density (capacity 62 kWh) and a more powerful powertrain, launching it in Japan in January 2019. Nissan will sequentially launch the Leaf e+ to the U.S. and European markets.

 For the newly developed 62kWh battery, Nissan developed new manufacturing technology to combine the battery cells, which allows a vehicle to be equipped with 1.5 times more battery cells without necessitating dimensional changes to the interior space or the design of the vehicle. The previous 40 kWh battery consisted of eight lithium-ion cells, with the modules connected by harnesses. With the 62kWh battery, Nissan has developed a modular structure that joins the cells and harness with a laser. The connection space between the modules has been significantly reduced, and the modules have been designed so that their height can be set freely. The battery is comprised of 12, 21 and 27 lithium-ion cell modules, and the number of installed lithium-ion cells has been increased 1.5 times to 288 cells from the 192 cells in the conventional 40 kWh pack. The battery energy storage capacity has been increased from 40 kWh to 62 kWh, and the range (domestic WLTC mode) has been increased from 322 km to 458 km.

Li-ion Battery Pack モジュール
62 kWh Li-ion Battery Pack The 4 cell module of the 24 kWh battery when the Leaf was first released (left photo) and the 27 cell module of the 62 kW battery (right photo)

Key words:
Toyota, Nissan, Concept-i, Drowsiness estimation, Wireless charging, All-solid lithium-ion battery, SiC power semiconductors, Highway Teammate, ProPilot 2.0, mini vehicle Dayz, VC-turbo engine, 62kWh Lithium-ion Battery Pack

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