Nissan has teamed up with numerous universities across the globe in a bid to introduce commercially viable autonomous drive vehicles to the market by the year 2020.
Nissan is already well underway developing an autonomous proving ground in Japan, with completion targeted for the end of next year. It features mocked up city streets to create a realistic setting in an environment where testing can be pushed beyond what is possible on the public roads.
Although the technology is planned to be introduced by 2020, the price at which it will be available is another matter. Nissan says “autonomous driving will be achieved at realistic prices for consumers” and is expecting availability across the model range within two vehicle generations.
"In 2007 I pledged that - by 2010 - Nissan would mass market a zero-emission vehicle. Today, the Nissan LEAF is the best-selling electric vehicle in history,” said CEO Carlos Ghosn. “Now I am committing to be ready to introduce a new ground-breaking technology, Autonomous Drive, by 2020, and we are on track to realize it."
A complex matrix of laser scanners and 360-degree view cameras, which evaluate the cars surroundings, make the autonomous drive technology achievable. At the same time, advanced artificial intelligence and actuators help navigate the car.
Nissan’s motivation to introduce this technology to the mass market is largely based on the six million road traffic accidents which happen in North America each year. Autonomous drive will dramatically reduce that figure, of which, 93 per cent are down to human error.