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US: Nissan targets autonomous drive to market by 2020

By Dave Leggett | 28 August 2013

Nissan says it will be ready with multiple, commercially-viable autonomous drive vehicles by 2020.

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, the company says.

The company also says that it will deliver autonomous driving “at realistic prices for consumers”. The stated goal is “availability across the model range within two vehicle generations”.

"Nissan Motor Company's willingness to question conventional thinking and to drive progress - is what sets us apart," said CEO 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 ground-breaking technology, Autonomous Drive, by 2020, and we are on track to realise it."

Nissan is demonstrating the breadth of the capability of its autonomous drive technology for the first time at Nissan 360, a huge test drive and stakeholder interaction event being held in Southern California. Laser scanners, Around View Monitor cameras, as well as advanced artificial intelligence and actuators, have been installed in Nissan Leafs to enable them to negotiate complex real-world driving scenarios.

Nissan says its autonomous driving technology is an extension of its “Safety Shield” advanced driver assistance systems, which monitor a 360-degree view around a vehicle for risks, offers warnings to the driver and takes action if necessary.