High-tech golf ball steers itself into the cup on the first putt – every time. Picture: SUPPLIED
High-tech golf ball steers itself into the cup on the first putt – every time. Picture: SUPPLIED

While this isn’t strictly a motoring story, it has its roots in automotive technology.

Nissan has found a way to overcome the dreaded yips in golf with a ball that guides itself into the hole.

Using a concept inspired by Nissan’s ProPilot 2.0 driver assistance system, set to debut on the new Nissan Skyline in Japan in October, the ProPilot helps golfers by following a predefined route to its goal.

In the Skyline, the system pairs up with the navigation to help manoeuvre the car from on-ramp to off-ramp autonomously, according to a predefined route on designated roads. ProPilot 2.0 is claimed to be the first system in the world to combine this with hands-off driving capability while cruising in a single lane.

Much like the car, the promotional golf ball is able to navigate its way across the green and into the cup on the first putt. The ball can literally be hit anywhere on the green and it curves around, rolling autonomously to find its way into the cup.

When the ball is hit, an overhead camera detects the position and calculates the correct route based on the ball’s movement. It adjusts the ball’s trajectory using an internal electric motor.

Nissan says it will make even novice golfers feel like pros — or would, if the high-tech golf ball ever became legal. It obviously won’t, but you’ve got to admit it’s a pretty cool idea.

Nissan’s ProPilot golf ball is the latest in a series of madcap concepts inspired by Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies. Previous examples include the Intelligent Parking Chair and self-parking slippers. 

The latter is inspired by the ProPilot Park system first introduced in the new Nissan Leaf in Japan in October 2017. The system detects surrounding objects and lets drivers automatically park the vehicle in a selected parking space by pressing a button. The same technology makes the self-parking slippers automatically return to their designated spots at the push of a button.