The Brit-built Qashqai will be equipped with Piloted Drive autonomous driving tech 'version 1.0' as of next year, forming part of a full model update with revised looks and new cabin tech. The system will allow autonomous driving in heavy traffic on motorways or A-roads.
Explaining the tech’s capabilities, Richard Candler, head of advanced product strategy, told us: “It can manage the steering, braking and acceleration and it is especially useful for stop and go traffic and motorway driving."
And he promised it would be affordable too. “This is accessible. We are not trying to make a 100,000 Euro Qashqai. And in time it’ll be on Jukes and Micras, and we simply can’t double the price of a Micra. It’ll be a reasonable price.”
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For the time being, Piloted Drive 1.0 won't allow driverless lane changes like Tesla's system, but Nissan will launch "multiple-lane control" some time in the next four years.
Candler added: “This tech will become mainstream on our cars in the same way that Safety Shield is. Last year 50 per cent of the cars sold had Safety Shield. My vision is to get to those kind of numbers – it’s going to be like ABS and airbags, integral to the car.”
Alongside this announcement, the Japanese brand has showcased two new Premium Concept versions of the X-Trail and Qashqai.
In a similar vein to Ford with its new Vignale models, the Nissan Premium Concept models get upmarket styling details such as carbon-fibre add-ons, 20-inch alloys and new grille designs. Nissan promises a wider scope for personalisation, although there's no production confirmation yet.
Senior vice-president Colin Lawther added: “Fifty per cent of Qashqais at the moment are top-spec cars. We’re not at the top level yet. Fifty per cent of people buy the Tekna, which is the top grade, and then people personalize on top of that, so we are not at that top grade. We certainly haven’t topped out Qashqai yet.”
Get all the latest news from the 2016 Geneva Motor Show here...