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2013 Infiniti JX35: Getting Us One Step Closer To A Driverless Car

The Driver Assistance Package

Infiniti offers a host of driver assists on its JX35. The Driver Assistance Package sells for $2,200, and includes everything from adaptive cruise control to lane keep assist. There's so much optional technology here, in fact, that it starts to feel like we're really, really close to an autonomous vehicle.

Intelligent Cruise Control

The JX35's adaptive cruise control works across the entire speed range, and is really quite excellent. Unlike some systems that require you to assume control under 20 MPH, Infiniti’s Intelligent Cruise Control will stop the car in traffic and even hold the brakes for a couple of seconds before handing the reins back to you. 

Infiniti's implementation relies on a front-mounted infrared laser that constantly monitors and analyzes the speed and any potential obstacles ahead.

We found Intelligent Cruise Control to be an excellent feature for rush-hour traffic, where the speed of other cars fluctuates often. Simply set the cruise control and watch the system work its magic (even if it takes some getting-used-to before you really trust the technology). As with most adaptive cruise control systems, Infiniti's lets you choose between three different following distances, though we found the shortest setting to be well within the textbook definition of safe.

Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Collision Warning

Given the drive- and brake-by-wire systems that replace conventional mechanical and hydraulic components, it's easier for manufacturers to implement more complex safety features. For example, Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW) in the JX35 utilizes the adaptive cruise control system's sensor to predict collisions. In the unfortunate event that an imminent collision is detected, you're presented with an alert. If you don't react, the system engages the brakes.

We were able to test this feature, and it works very well. As with the adaptive cruise's follow distance, you can adjust the range at which you start getting warnings. The alerts are loud and annoying, but that's why they're there. Automatic braking does its job too, effectively stopping the JX35 in typical city traffic. If you'd rather dispense with the unsolicited intervention, you can disable IBA with FCW using the steering wheel controls.

Back-Up Collision Intervention

Backing out a big vehicle in a busy parking lot is always a pain, particularly if your view is obstructed by surrounding cars, trucks, and vans. Infiniti's answer is the Back-Up Collision Intervention (BCI) system, which utilizes ultra-sonic proximity sensors mounted on the rear bumper that scan behind and to the sides of the vehicle for oncoming cars and light poles.

When an obstacle is detected, the driver is notified with an audible warning and a flashing Blind Spot Warning indicator. The BCI also triggers the Eco Pedal to make it harder to hit the gas. As a last resort, if you refuse to intervene, BCI automatically engages the brakes to prevent a collision.

Technologically, it's really cool to see all of those subsystems working together, and as enthusiasts, we can really appreciate what Infiniti enables on its JX35. At the same time, attentive drivers shouldn't feel compelled to spring for the Driver Assistance Package, particularly if they've already paid for the Premium Package and its awesome Around View Monitor technology.

Blind Spot Warning System

The Driver Assistance Package includes a Blind Spot Warning System (BSW). In the JX35, warning indicators are inside, on the sail panels opposing the side mirrors. They're orange and easy to spot from the driver's seat.

There's not wrong with Infiniti's placement per se, but we prefer the side mirror-mounted indicators on the previously-reviewed Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE. After all, we're more inclined to look at the mirrors while we're driving, rather than the sail panel.

The BSW system utilizes the same ultra-sonic proximity sensors as the BCI system. When a car is in the JX35's blind spot, the indicator flashes once. If you change lanes and use your turn signal, the indicator light flashes continuously and sounds an audible warning if a vehicle is detected in your blind spot.

Given the JX35's size, the BSW system is more useful than it was in Toyota's Camry. The audible warning does get annoying. However, if you need a feature like BSW to make safe lane changes, then the nag is probably appropriate.

  • sscultima
    Oddly enough, with all the hype over this vehicle, I work for roadside assistance, and just myself alone i have had at least 3 dispatch's for this vehicle due to breakdowns and 1 was for an accident.

    so i wonder really how many issues or accidents have happen all over the world so far for this vehicle
    Reply
  • xpeh
    Wow, that's a sexy looking vehicle!
    Reply
  • blackcat357
    "The audible warning does get annoying. However, if you need a feature like BSW to make safe lane changes, then the nag is probably appropriate." That was my favorite quote in the whole article. Personally i don't like or want any of these features. I love driving. If i stand on the brake pedal i want to lock them up. If i get road rage and want to push granny out of the fast lane i don't want my to tell me i cant.

    Call me crazy but i like driving. I think its fun actually. It seems to me taking control from the driver is the wrong solution. This and Gun control have the same solution Limit who can get them. Some people shouldn't have a license (we all know the stereotypical ditsy blonde girl) so take these cars back and give us back the 2010 Viper that had no driver "aides" (i view them the same way as the disease)

    Heres a solution. Make every one drive a standard transmission again. If your shifting your sure as hell not texting or reading facebook. Make the driver pay attention dont give them an excuse not too, which seems to be what this car is doing.
    OH i didn't wreck, im a good driver my car made the mistake! i was sleeping.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    I'm the author of the article.

    I agree with you blackcat357. I find the technology very fascinating and enjoy testing it, but I myself enjoy driving. I do find the full-range adaptive cruise control awesome. But at the other end of the spectrum is people who hate driving that are unattentive, I almost had a Chrysler Aspen plow into me on Saturday while driving the minivan. I'm not kidding, the guy tried to change into my lane while I was in view of all his mirrors, without signaling. People like that need these technologies to keep them from plowing into me.

    But luckily there are still cars for people like us that enjoy driving, Mazda has a complete lineup and there's the Scion FRS and Subaru BRZ. Its a good time for cars IMO.

    I miss having a manual though, need to eventually swap one into my BMW wagon.

    @sscultima that's very funny. I wonder how much it costs to repair when one of those systems fail. I'd hate to see the bill. I honestly wonder how many people think its the holy grail of laziness and just plow into someone else anyways and try to blame the car.
    Reply
  • blackcat357
    Its not that i inherently have a problem with these technologies. Its this one simple question that gets me.

    How long will it be until the Government makes all these "aides" MANDATORY

    Think Will Smith in I ROBOT. Cars drive themselves and manual mode is frowned upon if not actually illegal.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    Yea, I'm not fond of the NHTSA trying to make back-up cameras mandatory either. I find them a nicety, not a necessity especially with how much cars cost nowadays. Most importantly they won't prevent anything if the person behind the wheel is a moron and won't use it, ie the lady that backed over her daughter because she heard the door close and assumed her daughter was in the car and didn't bother turning her head to make sure the kids were all in and buckled up. She still managed to back over and kill her child despite having the back-up proximity sensors on her Escalade.

    You can't govern idiots or try to force technology on them.
    Reply
  • kevinherring
    $3/gallon? $3/gallon???? My heart bleeds for you

    What I wouldn't give for $3/gallon. Just over $9/gallon here in blighty. 1992 was the last time we had such prices. :-)
    Reply
  • mansfield
    kevinherring$3/gallon? $3/gallon???? My heart bleeds for youWhat I wouldn't give for $3/gallon. Just over $9/gallon here in blighty. 1992 was the last time we had such prices. :-)$9 USD? I think you should do a conversion. and in florida where I live it's around $4 a gallon
    Reply
  • MU_Engineer
    Anything that takes the driver's eyes away from the path of the vehicle, their attention away from driving, and results in an unpredictable response from the vehicle is a very bad, very unsafe thing to have in a vehicle. The backup cameras are one such thing as you must be looking forward to use them, while the vehicle is traveling in reverse. That is a great recipe to back right into the path of another vehicle that was outside of the limited camera range/angle. All of the "infotainment" stuff is another distraction in a lot of cases- you are fiddling with it and not keeping your eyes on the road in most cases. The absolute worst is the "eco pedal" here. Pushing the throttle and getting a variable response dependent on the whims of the computer is very dangerous. You don't get enough warning in emergency situations to think about "oh, I need to go through the vehicle menu to disable the Eco Pedal, and then I can try to avoid hitting that guy who merged into my lane going 30 under the limit while not being hit by oncoming traffic." A fully self-driving car would be even worse as you would be paying NO attention in most cases to the driving. If it has a hiccup, you will crash before you even know what happened.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    10448613 said:
    Anything that takes the driver's eyes away from the path of the vehicle, their attention away from driving, and results in an unpredictable response from the vehicle is a very bad, very unsafe thing to have in a vehicle. The backup cameras are one such thing as you must be looking forward to use them, while the vehicle is traveling in reverse. That is a great recipe to back right into the path of another vehicle that was outside of the limited camera range/angle. All of the "infotainment" stuff is another distraction in a lot of cases- you are fiddling with it and not keeping your eyes on the road in most cases. The absolute worst is the "eco pedal" here. Pushing the throttle and getting a variable response dependent on the whims of the computer is very dangerous. You don't get enough warning in emergency situations to think about "oh, I need to go through the vehicle menu to disable the Eco Pedal, and then I can try to avoid hitting that guy who merged into my lane going 30 under the limit while not being hit by oncoming traffic." A fully self-driving car would be even worse as you would be paying NO attention in most cases to the driving. If it has a hiccup, you will crash before you even know what happened.

    I didn't even think about the Eco pedal in that way, the response isn't variable, it just provides active resistance again trying to floor it, but that might be an issue when you need to in emergency situations. However, given how terrible drivers on the road are, they usually slam on the brakes to make situations worse at times. But in the argument for the car, it would slow down automatically when the guy merging at 30MPH pulls out :).

    10448612 said:
    $9 USD? I think you should do a conversion. and in florida where I live it's around $4 a gallon

    Its around $3.60 or so for regular in WA, but we have higher taxes but still nowhere near the levels in Europe, but at least you guys get awesome tiny fuel efficient diesel cars :)
    Reply