A few days ago, we reported that Nissan has been studying how animals move--specifically how they don't bump into one another. Well, it seems the Japanese carmaker's most recent announcement is related to that.
According to Nissan, it is getting ready to produce "multiple, commercially viable autonomous-drive vehicles by 2020." Autonomous cars are self-driving or driverless vehicles. In preparation for this, the carmaker is already constructing a dedicated autonomous-driving proving ground which it hopes to complete by the end of 2014. Unlike typically featureless proving grounds, this one will have real townscapes, not just mere mock-ups, and will be used "to push vehicle testing beyond the limits possible on public roads to ensure the technology is safe."
"Nissan Motor Company's willingness to question conventional thinking and to drive progress is what sets us apart," said Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn. "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. Now, I am committing to be ready to introduce a new groundbreaking technology--autonomous drive--by 2020, and we are on track to realize it."
Nissan's autonomous driving technology will supposedly be an extension of its Safety Shield system, which monitors a 360-degree view around a vehicle for risks, offers warnings to the driver, and takes action if necessary. The technology can also be integrated with a standard in-car navigation system so the vehicle knows which turns to take to reach its destination.
Nissan claims that its autonomous driving technology "will be achieved at realistic prices for consumers" and that its goal is to have the system available across the model range "within two vehicle generations."
We certainly hope this doesn't mean the GT-R will be autonomously driven in the future.