Not only do all the crashes on US roads cost citizens $160 billion every year, they rank as the top reason of death for four- to 34-year olds. With 93 percent of those accidents a result of human error, Nissan promises a solution: let the cars drive themselves.
Science fiction? Not according to company CEO Carlos Ghosn, who is promising the Japanese automaker will have multiple, commercially-viable autonomous vehicles available for purchase by the year 2020.
By the end of 2014, Nissan will have a dedicated autonomous driving proving ground which is currently under development in Japan. It will provide engineers with real world conditions in which to test the systems.
“Nissan Motor Company’s willingness to question conventional thinking and to drive progress – is what sets us apart,” said 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 ground-breaking technology, Autonomous Drive, by 2020, and we are on track to realize it.”
Currently, the brand has fitted Leaf electric cars with the first iteration of its autonomous system which consists of laser scanners, around view monitor cameras, as well as advanced artificial intelligence and actuators.
Car to car communication has been discussed widely as the most promising technology for making autonomous vehicles viable, but Nissan says that its philosophy is to have everything necessary for the car to drive itself on board, with no input coming from outside sources.
This type of system will put new strains on these cars and will require new construction and design to be able to handle the new demands placed on the chassis and traction control system.
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