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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A blue 2022 Nissan Altima is shown from the front driving on a city street.

Defying Gravity: NASA’s Influence on the 2022 Nissan Altima

“Launching in five… four… three… two… one…” Any launch into space deserves a countdown as the rocket propels itself from the gravitational pull of the Earth into the great unknown. If you listen closely, you just might hear the same countdown when you get behind the wheel of the 2022 Nissan Altima as its engine roars to life, propelling you toward the freedom of the open road in five… four… three… two… one.

While the 2022 Altima may not offer an actual countdown to launch (it would certainly be impressive if it did), it undeniably has ties to NASA and the organization’s passion for space exploration. NASA’s influence on the 2022 Altima is responsible for how comfortable you are behind the wheel, as Nissan took a cue from NASA in designing the sedan’s front row seats. Known as Zero Gravity seats, this is how NASA has a hand in the 2022 Altima’s design and why it’s one of the most comfortable sedans in the segment.

The black interior of a 2022 Nissan Altima shows the steering wheel and infotainment screen.

Solving a Common Problem

Think about your time in the driver’s seat and your level of comfort after 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, and so forth. If you’re like most people, the longer you sit in the same position, the more fatigue you experience. To remedy that discomfort, your body will naturally slump, but this creates another level of discomfort by forcing your spine to curve and putting pressure on your back and shoulders. The discomfort compounds.

As your discomfort grows, you experience physical and mental fatigue. This impacts your ability to focus on the road and the conditions at hand. You start thinking more about your discomfort and finding a way to remedy it, making you less aware of your surroundings. While this may not occur on your daily commute, you’ve likely experienced this firsthand on longer drives.

The Science Behind It All

While other automakers simply acknowledged the problem as one that would forever plague drivers, Nissan set out to solve the problem once and for all. The automaker turned its attention to NASA and looked at how astronauts benefit from the weightlessness of space. Nissan discovered that the weightless environment puts the body in a natural posture where the bones and joints experience the least amount of stress. This minimizes fatigue while increasing focus and energy levels.

After a decade of research, Nissan teamed up with the Yamazaki Laboratory at Keio University in Tokyo to develop a seat that would mimic the weightlessness of space and put the driver’s spine and body into a natural, neutral position. Using an in-lab simulator and a musculoskeletal model, the team designed the seat around 14 pressure points that flex to the body to provide constant support from the hips to the shoulders and from the tailbone to the chest.

Now, Nissan had to ensure the Zero Gravity seats worked for people of all shapes and sizes. Bringing in test drivers of varying heights and body types, Nissan not only put the drivers behind the wheel but also took blood samples before and after driving to measure their lactic acid levels, which relates to muscle fatigue. From behind the wheel, drivers reported that the ergonomic design of the seat maximized blood flow in the back and legs, reduced overall discomfort and pressure, and resulted in less fatigue, an uptick in energy, and greater focus.

The Design Itself

When you get behind the wheel of the 2022 Altima, you might be surprised to find that Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats don’t look like something out of a rocketship. They look like any other driver and front-passenger seat in the industry and, despite featuring a unique design, they don’t distinguish themselves from the Altima’s second-row seats. The only difference is the science behind them, and that’s enough to make any amount of time you spend in the driver’s seat far more relaxing and comfortable.

From Past to Present: Zero Gravity and the Altima

The Altima and Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats have strong ties since the automaker debuted the revolutionary seat design in the 2013 Altima. Since then, Zero Gravity seats have become a staple across the Nissan lineup and remain a huge selling point for the brand. They’re also a great indicator of Nissan’s position at the helm of innovation and its commitment to making drivers safer, more comfortable, and more aware when they’re behind the wheel.

This is exactly what you’ll find in the 2022 Altima, with its Zero Gravity seats that offer a host of modern conveniences without sacrificing the science behind the design. Nissan knows that drivers come in all shapes and sizes, which means there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to seats. We saw this firsthand when Nissan tested the Zero Gravity seats in the lab, and we see it again on the 2022 Altima with its Memory Seat System. The system gives you and another driver the ability to set and store the optimal seating position for your needs when you’re in the driver’s seat. With the touch of a button, the seat automatically moves into position, which means no more struggling to find the ideal position as you navigate the road ahead.

A white 2022 Nissan Altima is shown from the rear driving on a snow covered road.

Nissan’s Innovation Continues

The Altima’s Zero Gravity seats are exclusive to the Nissan lineup and offer a glimpse into the automaker’s ingenuity and innate ability to give drivers exactly what they want and need in a vehicle. Beyond these NASA-inspired seats, you’ll find Nissan’s ingenuity everywhere you look in the 2022 Altima. The sedan’s extensive suite of cutting-edge technology is designed, like the Zero Gravity seats, to improve your time in the driver’s seat and maximize your focus on the road ahead.

Knowing that smartphones are integral to our daily lives, Nissan also recognizes the risk they can pose to a driver’s focus. In turn, Nissan minimizes this risk by equipping the 2022 Altima with a suite of connectivity tools and expansive displays. This puts all the information you need within reach, within a quick glance, or a simple voice command away.

Nissan’s ingenuity extends beyond connectivity to its intelligent suite of driver-assist tools that outfit the 2022 Altima with an extra set of eyes and the capability to take some of the burdens of driving off your hands. Known as ProPILOT Assist, the driving tool helps you steer, accelerate, and brake on long stretches of highway using a system of cameras, radars, and sensors to monitor the Altima’s position and the road ahead. When paired with the Altima’s Zero Gravity seats, any time spent in the driver’s seat of the Altima is enjoyable.

Why Ingenuity Matters

The automotive industry has been alive and well since the early 1900s when the thought of relying on anything other than a horse and buggy seemed ridiculous. With models like the Model T putting the world on wheels, drivers embraced the freedom of traveling more efficiently and more comfortably. Let’s be honest, riding a horse is neither efficient nor comfortable for long periods.

While the automobile was an undeniable upgrade to the trusty steed, automakers seemed to think the design of the seat was the best it was going to get. Instead, they turned their attention to other ways to improve the driving and riding experience by adding modern amenities like heated and ventilated seats, lumbar support, power seats, and beyond. Nissan, however, wasn’t willing to settle, nor was it willing to force its drivers to settle.

Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats reflect the automaker’s dedication to making its vehicles better and more innovative with the sole purpose of giving drivers a better experience behind the wheel. The 2022 Altima is a great example of this innovation and how Nissan continues to set new benchmarks in the industry. It’s this type of innovation that continues to fuel the American automotive industry because it challenges all the key players to think outside the box, even if it means looking to NASA and the great unknown.

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