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Self-driving cars to hit showrooms by 2020, cutting-edge Nissan reveal

By Kyle Linsay
Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 08:00

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PROMISE: Leaf saw Nissan fulfil tech pledge

Self-driving vehicles will soon become reality for Nissan, after the manufacturer announced multiple commercially-viable models will feature the technology by 2020.

Nissan’s engineers have been undertaking intensive research on autonomous vehicles for years, alongside teams from the world’s top universities, including MIT, Stanford, Oxford, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Tokyo.

Work is already underway in Japan to build a dedicated autonomous driving proving ground, to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2014.

Featuring real townscapes – masonry not mock-ups – it will be used to push vehicle testing beyond the limits possible on public roads to ensure the technology is safe.

Nissan claim their autonomous driving will be achieved at realistic prices for consumers, with availability across the model range targeted to be within two vehicle generations.

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan, said: “Nissan Motor Company’s willingness to question conventional thinking and to drive progress is what sets us apart.

“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 ground-breaking technology, autonomous drive, by 2020, and we are on track to realise it.”

Nissan are demonstrating the breadth of their autonomous drive technology for the first time at Nissan 360, a huge test drive and stakeholder interaction event in California.

Laser scanners, around view monitor cameras and advanced artificial intelligence and actuators have been installed in Nissan Leafs to enable them to negotiate complex real-world driving scenarios.

Nissan’s autonomous driving technology extends their safety shield, which monitors a 360degree view around a vehicle for risks, offers driver warnings and takes action if necessary.

It is based on the philosophy that everything required should be on board the vehicle, rather than relying on detailed external data.

The technology being demonstrated at Nissan 360 means the car could drive autonomously on a road – sticking to or changing lanes and avoiding collisions – without a map.

It can also be integrated with a standard in-car navigation system so the vehicle knows which turns to take to reach its destination.

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