Nissan CEO: Get ready, our auto-wagons will be ready by 2020

Only consumer caution and govt regulation can stop us!

Nissan Leaf
Image courtesy of Norbert Aepli, Switzerland

Nissan's CEO has said the company is on track to deliver its driverless cars by 2020, although he expects government regulation to be a stumbling block to their usage on public roads.

Whether driverless car technology will achieve any sort of road-worthy licensing from different regulators around the world is still a cause for concern, according to Carlos Ghosn, Nissan CEO.

"Our cars will be ready," Ghosn laconically affirmed to reporters at Nissan's global headquarters in Yokohama.

Autonomous driving is an inevitable inclusion within future motor vehicles, the CEO explained, claiming that market studies find that young consumers, who drive demand for products, are strongly in favour of it.

Among the other qualities Nissan believes younger drivers will prefer are "connectivity and zero, or very low, emissions".

The former presumably means cat videos and Facebook access while stuck in traffic, or as Ghosn put it, duplicating in the vehicle the experiences a person has at home or in the office.

Nissan has put a lot of its efforts into electric cars, especially the fully electric Leaf. Nissan manufactures about 50,000 models of the Leaf in Sunderland each year.

In September 2013 Nissan tested its prototype Advanced Driver Assistance System with its electric Leaf vehicles, which was granted a licence to be driven on Japanese roads. The test is believed to have contributed towards the development of a fully automated driving system.

Autonomous driving has been legal to "test" on British roads since February.

Ghosn said Nissan sees autonomous vehicles as contributing towards the general pleasure of driving, and a vehicle which does not accommodate for human control is not something the auto-maker is considering at the moment.

Instead, the autonomous features Nissan is working to develop will "assist or enhance driving", the CEO said. While Nissan may end up with a driverless car, that is not the manufacturer's goal.

"[The driverless car] is the car of the future," Ghosn acknowledged. "But the consumer is more conservative [and] that makes us cautious." ®

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