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Nissan focuses on autonomous vehicles

Waste not, want not: Nissan wants us to work even longer hours – even on the way to/from work while stuck in heavy traffic. Thanks, Nissan!

Self-driving Nissan vehicles are in the pipeline for a 2020 launch

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Nissan logo16 Sep 2013

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in NEWPORT, USA

NISSAN is investing heavily in autonomous vehicle research and development in a bid to return spare time to the time-poor.

With 2020 the earliest planned release date, company research shows that the need for better time management is spearheading development of self-driving cars, especially since increasing congestion means people are spending more time commuting than ever before.

However, like the protracted rollout of electric vehicles - a field in which the company’s Leaf is the key player - Nissan is calling for “appropriate regulations to be put in place” by all governments.

Speaking at the ‘360’ global product and drive event in California, Nissan’s ‘Upstream Product Planner’ Rachel Nguyen believes consumers are ready for the next big thing in mobility.

“We see an ongoing shift from “auto-centric societies” to “mobility-centric” ones,” she said.

“Getting where you need to go isn’t strictly dependent on individual car ownership. This results from changing technologies, changing behaviours, and broad concerns about sustainability.

“Our challenge, as an automaker, is not just to respond to these changes, but to have a clear understanding of what is driving them so we can foresee the most likely outcomes and prepare solutions that will enable us to thrive.”

Nissan says part of the autonomous vehicle development process is redefining what the human/machine relationship will be, moving from interface to interaction.

“The collaboration, coordination, cooperation, and communication between the car and its operator are all elements of the next big step forward,” Ms Nguyen revealed.

“Tomorrow’s intelligent cars will be seen as a valued assistant, more like an extension of your house in terms of providing comfort, family interaction areas, and entertainment and connection centres.”

While the company is currently showcasing vehicles that can avoid accidents, the goal is to have the driving process taken over, for significantly safer responses than what a human can achieve.

“The day when autonomous vehicles are commercially viable is not very far away, providing appropriate regulations can be put in place,” she added.

“We are keeping a careful eye on all developments related to autonomous cars.

“The big leap forward will come with the commercial launch of the first fully autonomous vehicle.”

Believing that the emergence of Autonomous Vehicles will also lead to an increase in vehicle group sharing, Nissan is proposing its ‘Pedestrian on Wheels’ concept.

“It’s a three-passenger vehicle designed to work in fully-planned new cities, like some of those being built in the Middle East… and they are intended to cover the last mile in a journey that might be otherwise taken by public transit.

“Nissan is not simply reacting to changing realities… we are actively planning, designing, and testing our ideas for dealing with them.”

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