So Nissan was apparently very gung-ho about the future of self-driving cars to the point it said it would have them by 2020. Its CEO Carlos Ghosn made that pledge though he admits that right now the technology isn't where it should be as yet. Ghosn gave an overview of Nissan's plans for autonomous cars in a speech to the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan.
And what Nissan wants is to get there first even if other carmakers and, notably, Google are also in the race.
The Japanese carmaker is not keen to enter into partnerships with Google, which makes sense. After all, partnerships with Google usually means Google gets the branding and the partner just becomes 'hardware maker for Google'.
More reasons to like the Leaf
Nissan's Leaf, an electric car geared to do away with emissions, was a gamble that the company think has paid off. So much so that it will be one of the models that will showcase whatever developments Nissan makes in autonomous driving. Besides the Leaf, the Infiniti is also going to see a lot of autonomous tweaks.
The carmaker is hoping to have fully automated parking available in its vehicles as well as the Traffic Jam Assistant feature that lets the car go autonomous during bad traffic. Other features Nissan is working on include multple-lane controls that will help cars change lines in tandem with adaptive cruise control that will steer a car around slower traffic when nearby lanes are clear of obstruction. Another feature would be the ability for cars to negotiate city intersections without needing driver input.
Exciting developments indeed though the question is whether Nissan would get approval. Paramount would be safety concerns - would it be wise or proven safe to let a car navigate its way out of traffic without a person deciding just where and when to turn?
But if the technology is there, why not? Traffic jams are a major source of stress for the average driver and prove overly ideal in creating traffic accidents. Less driving, more intelligent navigating is good, we say. And if it comes in an environmentally better package: why not?
READ MORE: Ford's self-driving car