Behind the wheel of an autonomous carEnlarge Photo
A couple of years ago Nissan made the bold claim it will launch on the market an autonomous car by 2020. It was later revealed that Nissan’s autonomous car wouldn’t be capable of driving itself in all situations and that a licensed driver would still need to be behind the wheel.
That isn’t entirely Nissan’s fault, as the technology for a fully autonomous car will likely be available by the end of the decade (much of it is already available today). Rather, as Renault Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn reminds us, a host of regulatory, legal and security issues will need to be dealt with first, and because of this he predicts that a fully autonomous car, one requiring no driver whatsoever, is at least a decade away.
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In the meantime, Nissan, like many leading automakers, plans to roll out the technology in incremental steps. Starting from late next year, Nissan plans to offer a traffic jam assistant that will allow a car to drive autonomously and safely in heavy, stop-and-go traffic. In 2018, Nissan will introduce technology that allows a car to autonomously negotiate hazards and change lanes. And by 2020, Nissan plans to introduce vehicles that can navigate without driver intervention in nearly all situations, including complex city driving.
Automotive supply giant Bosch has come up with a video demonstrating what it will be like using a car that can handle some situations completely on its own, such as driving on the highway. It shows how the interaction between an autonomous car and its driver could work, with the driver required at some points and the car free to take over at others.