Nissan Plans Self-Driving Cars By 2020

Nissan hopes to start selling its own self-driving car by the year 2020. The company announced its plans on Tuesday at a press event in Irvine, California.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn was expected to make the announcement. However, he canceled at the last moment with no explanation. Executives didn’t explain the cancellation.

In a statement, NBC News reports that Ghosn announced, “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.”

Nissan is working with several universities around the world to develop the self-driving car. At this point, the company explained it is not working with Google, which has received worldwide recognition for its work in the field.

In order to test out the new autonomous vehicle, the world’s sixth-largest automaker is building a test track in Vietnam that will replicate the challenges the cars will face in real-world conditions. The cost for a consumer to have a self-driving luxury sedan instead of one they would drive themselves is about $1,000.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Nissan also demonstrated how a prototype self-driving car could use a combination of laser guidance systems, radar sensors, and cameras to navigate a track with real-world obstacles. The company used its Leaf car for the demonstration.

Executive Vice President Andy Palmer explained on Tuesday that the technology isn’t the challenge in the Nissan self-driving car. Instead, the challenge will be how deep the company will go into the software. Rather than using Google’s technology, it will develop its own.

It also could be difficult to create a low-cost, reliable sensor to “see” around the vehicle and guide it to its destination. Nissan isn’t the only automaker looking to market a self-driving car in the near future. Ford, General Motors, and Toyota are also developing the technology to have cars steer, brake, and accelerate with little to no involvement from the driver.

[Image via Kevin Tietz /]

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