Nissan Leaf Autonomous Drive demonstrator

Nissan will bring the autonomous car to consumers by the end of this decade. The announcement was made by CEO Carlos Ghosn at the company's US R&D operations in Irvine, CA. Nissan has already begun construction of a dedicated proving ground for the self-driving cars in Japan, with completion targeted for the end of 2014.

Teaming with MIT, Stanford, Oxford and others, Nissan has already outfitted Leaf EVs with the Autonomous Drive (Nissan's brand name for the tech), a suite of new technologies developed from the brand's existing Safety Shield technology. The current iteration of Autonomous Drive uses the Around-View Monitoring system and laser scanners to analyze the environment, while artificial intelligence systems have been installed to help navigate and operate in a changing environment.

While it's easy to say that Nissan will bring the technology to market within the next six or seven years, it's more difficult to say at what price Autonomous Drive will be available. Most remarkable about all of this is Nissan's claim that self-driving cars will be both commercially viable and available at "realistic prices for consumers." It's expecting Autonomous Drive to be available across its range within two vehicle generations.

Nissan's motivation rests largely with the number of accidents that happen on US roads alone each year - six million accidents that cost consumers $160 billion and kill more people between the ages of four and 34 than anything else. Considering the overwhelming majority of those accidents are caused by human error, this tech seems like a great idea.

Carlos Ghosn demonstrated Nissan's resolve towards bringing the tech to market, saying, "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 realize it." Those are some bold words, but what Nissan is promising now is far more complex than a new drivetrain. We look forward to seeing what it comes up with.
Show full PR text
Nissan Announces Unprecedented Autonomous Drive Benchmarks

Nissan will be ready with revolutionary commercially-viable Autonomous Drive in multiple vehicles by the year 2020
Program underway in Japan to construct first dedicated, purpose-built autonomous drive proving ground
The goal is availability across the model range within two vehicle generations
Nissan already working with top universities including MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, Oxford and The University of Tokyo*; seeks to broaden collaborative research with other world-class institutions as well as start-ups
Nissan leveraging 80 years of technical prowess and innovation in new effort to revolutionize vehicle chassis and design for Autonomous Drive

IRVINE, Calif. – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. today announced that the company will be ready with multiple, commercially-viable Autonomous Drive vehicles by 2020. Nissan announced that the company's engineers have been carrying out intensive research on the technology for years, alongside teams from the world's top universities, including MIT, Stanford, Oxford, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Tokyo.

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.

Nissan's autonomous driving will be achieved at realistic prices for consumers. The 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 realize 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's autonomous driving technology is an extension of its Safety Shield, which monitors a 360-degree view around a vehicle for risks, offers warnings to the driver and takes action if necessary. It is based on the philosophy that everything required should be on board the vehicle, rather than relying on detailed external data. The technology being demonstrated at Nissan 360 means the car could drive autonomously on a highway - sticking to or changing lanes and avoiding collisions - without a map. It can also be integrated with a standard in-car navigation system so the vehicle knows which turns to take to reach its destination.

A revolutionary concept like autonomous drive will have implications throughout the design and construction of cars. For example, collision-avoidance by machines with the capability to react more rapidly and with more complex movements than a human driver will place new demands on the chassis and traction control. Nissan is leveraging 80 years of research and development expertise to create a complete solution for autonomous drive.

A vehicle that looks out for you
Six million crashes in the US per year cost $160 billion and rank as the top reason of death for four- to 34-year olds. And, 93% of accidents in the US are due to human error, typically due to inattention.

With Autonomous Drive Nissan has the technology today to detect and respond to the situations causing this tragedy.

In the future, Autonomous Drive also means less input from the driver; U.S. drivers average 48 minutes per day on the road - hundreds of hours a year that could be used more productively.

For the aged or those with disabilities, Autonomous Drive offers another benefit: true independence and mobility for all.

*Full list of institutions currently involved: AIST(National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Chuo University, Hiroshima University, The University of Iowa, University of Oxford, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NAIST (Nara Institute of Science and Technology), Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Russian State Scientific Center for Robotics and Technical Cybernetics, Kyushu University, Keio University, Nagoya University, Shinshu University, Tohoku University, Tokyo Polytechnic University, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, UC Berkeley, The University of Tokyo, University of Tsukuba, Waseda University, University of Yamanashi