It has two different cabin configurations depending on whether the driver selects the conventional manual driving mode, or the 'piloted' mode built in via its on-board artificial intelligence.
"It's like relaxing in a living room," says design director Mitsunori Morita, who defines the trust-based communication that needs to exist between driver and autonomous-driving car with the phrase "Together, we ride". Even in manual mode the intelligent drive system is poised to assist if needed, providing greater control in braking and cornering.
The IDS Concept has a low roof height (1380mm) to reduce frontal area and improve aerodynamics, and runs on thin, big-diameter, aerodynamically designed wheels with 175 section tyres to minimise both air and rolling resistance. Its carbonfibre body makes it unusually light for a battery car.
Nissan's engineers say they have improved all aspects of IDS Concept's electric powertrain: motors, batteries and inverters. The combination of aerodynamics, lightness and a new, high-capacity 60kWh battery will allow the IDS Concept to "drive long distances", according to Nissan.
The IDS concept, and the Leaf it will morph into, will pioneer Nissan Intelligent Drive, according to Nissan’s boss Carlos Ghosn. It will be switchable between Pilot and Manual modes, and Pilot does everything, seeing traffic and connecting to other connected cars. Manual gives you control but maintains the surveillance of the Pilot technology in the background for safety.
Nissan plans to roll out self-driving technology across 'multiple vehicles' by 2020, and the IDS gives a look at how this could work. It is capable of imitating the driver’s own driving style while in autonomous mode, reflecting cornering, braking and accelerating styles.