Nissan ‘racing’ towards autonomous driving

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Just days after the Tokyo debut of its autonomous, zero-emission concept the Nissan IDS, the automaker revealed it had begun testing its first prototype vehicle that demonstrates piloted driving on both highway and city roads.

Company president and CEO Carlos Ghosn has said for years Nissan would offer autonomous drive technology on multiple vehicles by 2020.

Progress is apparently on track as stage one of its goal, Piloted Drive 1.0, will be available in Japan by the end of 2016. Piloted Drive 1.0 reportedly allows for autonomous driving under heavy highway traffic conditions.

By 2018, the company says it hopes to implement a multiple lane piloted drive that can conduct lane changes on highways.

And by 2020, it says it will introduce new technology that allows vehicles to successfully manage roads – including intersections – autonomously.

The prototype test vehicle made its public debut in Japan in late October. It will navigate through actual traffic conditions in an effort to develop the system for public use.

That vehicle is based on the Nissan LEAF and it is equipped with a millimeter wave radar, laser scanners, cameras, high-speed computer chips, a specialized HMI (Human Machine Interface) and a multitude of additional features.

Some of the key autonomous drive functions being tested include distance control, lane changing, merging and exiting highways and successfully navigating intersections.

“With the power of the Renault-Nissan alliance behind us, we are racing forward,” Ghosn told reporters in in Tokyo during the 2015 Motor Show.

“Nissan technology will revolutionize the relationship between the car and the driver and future mobility.”