The long-awaited Nissan Rogue 2021 is coming to America. Production has already kicked off at the Nissan Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant in Tennessee.
This high-tech vehicle is being produced in an award-winning facility. While the factory itself is quite advanced, this production is being led with some of the most advanced technologies and approaches possible for automobile production lines.
The Nissan Rogue contains a lot of technology itself, but this time its development process will be using cutting-edge virtual technology and assistive robots are going to be used in its development.
New Challenges from The New Normal
COVID19 has placed new requirements on many companies across all industries. This was no different for the Nissan factory, after months of not being able to work in the factory at all, returning to work recently presented new challenges to the way staff could operate.
The staff didn’t stop working while the factory was shut either. Instead, they helped to make thousands of face masks to protect the local community, a tribute to the brand and its commitment.
The factory was opened up slowly in stages, allowing for adjustments to be made and new measures introduced. COVID19 meant it was in for more things such as plexiglass barriers, social distancing areas, and of course the beloved masks. However, for the workers at the factory, masks and other safety gear such as goggles are often a normal part of working on the production line.
Even areas for relaxation had to be changed drastically since the start of the pandemic. Social distancing is maintained, and barriers are used in areas where masks are removed for eating or drinking.
In addition to all of this, there is the necessity to sterilize the factory. And so, frequently throughout the day (approximately every two hours) production needs to be halted and all tools and areas that are touched frequently need to be fully sterilized.
Despite all of this, the staff is upbeat about the new production of the Nissan Rogue coming to their facility.
What’s New About the 2021 Nissan Rogue Production?
Over the years we have seen increased automation of production lines across many industries. With virtual reality, augmented reality, and 5G, the possibilities of both automation and human collaboration are increasing. Robots are even collaborating, and able to adjust to scenarios as required.
David Johnson, vice president, Production Engineering and New Model Quality for Nissan North America stated “Not only have we improved the way we build the new Rogue, the team is using this new technology to build all the vehicles in our U.S. plants with better efficiency and quality for customers,”
In this sense, two key aspects were mentioned in a recent press release:
- Virtual Reality – While this has been used for a while for design and training purposes, this time the use was taken a step further. Virtual reality with realistic properties was used to not only design aspects of the new cars but to test them as well. Potential issues were refined and fixed before production even began. This was due to virtual collaboration and reviews as a part of the development.
- Cobots – This launch sees the largest number of collaborative robots used on the production line than on any other car created by Nissan. The robots are generally used to perform repetitive tasks to improve quality and safety. However, they also mean that existing staff are free to be reassigned to areas that require a more human touch.
With these two areas combined, considerable amounts are saved in time and costs. By working out issues virtually, it saves wasted resources, delays, and possible vehicle issues down the line. The Cobots also help to increase safety, reduce chances of RSIs (repetitive strain injuries), and speed up production.
This time, due to restrictions and the staggered return to production after COVID19, most of the training was also done remotely.
How Virtual Reality is Changing Automobile Production Lines
Virtual reality is steadily changing how we can experience digital objects and scenarios. In the automobile industry, there have been some great usage cases for these virtual approaches:
- Factory Planning – The perfect factory floor layout can be planned in virtual reality. Not only can it be planned, but it can also be tested and refined
- Car Design & Testing – Cars are being both effectively designed and tested in a virtual environment. As things are to scale and interactions realistic, often faults can be found and fixed before production or real-world models begin
- Reviewing & Collaboration – Although many issues are detected during virtual design, some issues can occur when in the production stage. When this happens, the best minds can instantly collaborate on the issues and resolve them quickly via virtual meetings or redesigning in a virtual space.
- Assembly Training – The best minds of the project can create standardized training for existing and new employees. This helps onboard them faster and develop the skills needed for production.
- Maintenance Training – Whether maintenance of vehicles or factory machinery, virtual reality is perfect for this.
- Increased Safety – As people can train as much as they need virtually, it reduces the risk of untrained staff being on production lines. Virtual mistakes don’t cost the company and don’t injure staff.
- Remote Assistance – If there is an emergency or a specific skill is needed, instead of calling a specialist in, they can often offer remote assistance via augmented or virtual reality devices.
- Remote Workers – Once 5G is rolled out across all areas, the possibilities of ‘live’ remote actions open up. This means that a specialist could work remotely in a virtual environment, and a robot or machine on the other end performs their actions. It may not be cost-effective for some aspects, but for dangerous environments or specialist skill sets, it could be extremely useful.
In some places, augmented reality is also being used to detect anomalies, track stock, and more. The possible uses are continuing to be discovered.
What is the New 2021 Nissan Rogue Going to offer?
The Rogue is not new to the market as such, but this next model is packed with some exciting features. It is one of the best sellers for Nissan and in fact, this Smyrna assembly plant is getting another five to produce. A testament to their abilities and quality product approaches.
Of course, as a best seller, it goes without saying that the 2021 Rogue needed to exceed 2020 expectations. So, here we take a look at what the new Rogue will offer:
Engine-wise, buyers can expect a decent drive from the 181-horsepower engine. It is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder design that is connected to a continuously variable automatic transmission. This engine is more powerful than the last model and puts out 181 lb-ft of torque. There is also a choice between front-wheel or intelligent all-wheel drive.
To keep buyers interested, the exterior has also had a redesign with some sleek features, focusing more on the family market by incorporating more in-car entertainment, safety -features, and comfort. Two-tone color options will also be available.
According to NissanUSA, the car comes with 3 high-tech displays, a digital dashboard, and even a heads-up display that can project useful information onto the windshield, such as sat-nav directions.
The Standard Safety Shield 360 is a major selling point of the vehicle. It is an advanced collection of driver’s assist and other safety features to both make driving a pleasure and the vehicle considerably safer.
Safety Shield 360 includes:
- Blind-spot warnings
- Lane departure warnings
- High beam assistance
- Reversing automated braking
- Rear alert for crossing traffic or pedestrians
- Automated emergency braking that includes pedestrian detection
NissanUSA also states that the intelligent all-wheel-drive system is advanced enough to tackle the trickiest of driving surfaces. It can adjust as required to allow safer driving on gravel, dirt, wet surfaces, and even snow and ice.
The Nissan Rogue also comes with all of these included, even from the basic trim:
- Keyless entry
- Push-button startup
- Hands-free and text messaging assistant
- Apple CarPlay
- Android Auto
- Satellite radio
- Heated front seats
- Heated steering wheel
- Heated mirrors
- Automatic headlamps
- Tire pressure monitoring (plus Easy Fill Tire Alert for correct pressures)
- Two-tone exterior paint
This is quite an inclusive range of technologies to be included at all trim levels.
To Wrap Up
The Nissan Rogue is both full of the latest technology and also using the latest approaches in its development and production. Nissan is not the first company to take on virtual reality approaches in the automobile industry and is unlikely to be the last.
Virtual reality, assistive robots, and modern work approaches via 5G is changing how we live and work.