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.
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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


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 84 Comments
      BipDBo
      • 1 Year Ago
      This will be a big deal in my home state of Florida. Losing the ability to drive a car in your elder years is a major loss of freedom and independence. It's most often the turning point where people go to an assisted living facility (ALF). In volunteering at an ALF, I could see the depression on the faces of the new residents over finding themselves forced into this new, more dependent stage of life.. It's very hard on them. It changes everything about their lives. An elderly person can otherwise remain independent for many years after loosing the ability to drive. We have whole communities such as "Sun City Center" that have been built around the elderly population, and specifically allowing golf carts on the roads to cater to diminishing driving ability. Having autonomous cars won't completely keep people free and independent forever, but they have the ability to delay the inevitable for years, improve living quality and drastically reduce the duration and therefore the cost of long term assisted living.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BipDBo
        The same technologies which are enabling cars to navigate in city streets is going to help them navigate in the home. The Japanese are making great strides in robot assistance in the home, as well as aids to walking with assisted robocop legs and so on. Its also encouraging that people aren't simply getting older and with more years of disability, but the years of health are increasing, with the number of years of being relatively disabled fairly constant. Fully automated cars will help with a big part of the puzzle.
      BF4ALTF
      • 1 Year Ago
      Drivers will be able to smoke, talk/text and stay in their lane at the same time!!!
      cpmanx
      • 1 Year Ago
      Anyone who thinks this is some wild Jetsons-style tech is just not paying attention. Automation and electronic controls are taking on more and more roles in new cars. Full autonomy is possible right now, it's just not cheap enough or foolproof enough to put on the market. Autonomous cars will not be autonomous all the time. They will be switchable (probably both manually and automatically) so you can take control when you want but surrender control in an emergency situation. Think that means taking all the joy out of driving? Look around. The new 911 is chock full of driver aids. Skilled drivers can turn them off. Most do not. If you really want a car that has no electronics doing work for you, buy an old Chevette without power steering or power brakes. And sorry to dispel those spooky scenarios of hackers taking control of your car but...are hackers currently taking over your antilock brakes and auto cruise control and lane-departure control and traction control and electronic limited slip, etc? The people developing these systems are not idiots. No autonomous system is going to make it to market unless it has multiple redundancies, failsafes, and well-sorted deactivation triggers. Enthusiasts can help make sure that autonomous-enabled vehicles are fully switchable and are still fun to drive. But make no mistake--the tech is coming, whether you like it or not.
        jbrian922
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cpmanx
        Yes hackers are already taking control of peoples look it up! People need to STOP making all of this new tech thinking it's good it's not.
      DaveMart
      • 1 Year Ago
      '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." ' Its not really that optimistic if you look at the details of Oxford's system, which relies on far cheaper components than Google's, and what is more components which should reduce rapidly and radically in cost: 'At the moment, the complete system costs around £5,000 - but Prof Newman hopes that future models will bring the price of the technology down to as low as £100.' http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21462360 At the moment the system can only operate on streets it is familiar with, but it is not difficult to see that barrier being overcome, either through brute force of a data base of previously driven streets, or improved GPS or whatever.
      Andrew Pappas
      • 1 Year Ago
      As a chauffeur... it looks like I have 5 years or so to find a new profession
      KBCCSTEP
      • 1 Year Ago
      "...six million accidents that cost consumers $160 million..." equals less than $27 per accident.
      cpmanx
      • 1 Year Ago
      "...six million accidents that cost consumers $160 million..." So the average auto accident causes $26 in damage? Huh?
        cpmanx
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cpmanx
        Never mind--I see someone else already called out this error.
        jamiemvanlooy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cpmanx
        Wow. $26. To fix two or more cars, property, lawsuits, rental cars, service, repair, etc. I want their insurance, they must be mathematically magical wizards!
      Joel
      • 1 Year Ago
      While law enforcement may initially praise the concept of self-driving cars, computers preventing the cars from commiting any driving infractions will ultimately reduce the intake of police departments. What will happen to sale of Porsches and other cars that can go fast if they're government by a speed limiter that communicates with speed limit signs?
      DaveMart
      • 1 Year Ago
      More on Nissan's plans for autonomous driving including a video of Andy Palmer outlining them here: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/08/20130828-ad.html He draws the distinction between Nissan's plans and Google's as that Nissan intends that everything will be within the car, whereas Google's autonomous cars will depend on external communication. Not really surprising, considering Google's technical base, I suppose. Also of interest: The goal is availability across the model range within two vehicle generations after introduction. I'm not really sure of how long a vehicle generation is these days. Traditionally it was around 6 years. So around 2030 maybe for every Nissan car to be autonomous. I like Nissan's clear goal: 'Zero emissions, zero deaths'.
      Making11s
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can't wait for a car with a self-driving mode. There are situations that make driving a chore (traffic, commute, or just mood), and I'd be happy to let the car take over in those instances.
      Cain Gray
      • 1 Year Ago
      Here's a question...who the hell is asking for this $#&%??!!
        Txdesign
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Cain Gray
        Every person who currently spends hours in traffic jams getting to and from work. How many more cars with a single driver at the wheel do you think we can add before traffic comes to a complete standstill. Imagine being able to program your car to do errands, take the kids to school, all without you in it. The applications are mind blowing.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Txdesign
          [blocked]
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Txdesign
          Because you are happy to drive a car, and able to do so, you wrongly infer that everyone else is so circumstanced.
        mycommentemail
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Cain Gray
        I am. Something like this operated as a cheap taxi service will allow me to sell my current car and replace it with an old Alfa that doesn't have to be reliable, sensible, or really all that efficient because most of my commuting will be done via these automatic taxis. And then during the week I don't have to worry about parking or being awake while driving or traffic... And the environment benefits because these commuter cars don't need to be set up for long ranges so they can effectively be short range electric cars. If I need to go a longer distance then I just hire a car with greater range (which might even be gas powered). And on the weekend I have fun by spending my car dollars on an old, fun, Alfa Romeo.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Cain Gray
        [blocked]
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          I am happy for people to drive, but not on a public highway. At present there is not an alternative, but there seems no good reason why I, my children or others should risk being maimed or killed when getting about because some people want to drive. If they love driving, especially if they love driving fast, then they can do it on a racetrack with other consenting adults. I enjoy that myself, but have no free pass to put other people in jeopardy on the public streets.
          RocketRed
          • 1 Year Ago
          Let's just agree that people who want to drive should drive and those who don't (or can't) shouldn't have to, technology permitting. Indeed, I would be happy if people with high points totals, alcoholics, those with marginal vision, or texting addicts, or simply people such as yourself who suffer grinding misery behind the wheel, would give up driving.
      oollyoumn
      • 1 Year Ago
      Bring it on Nissan! I can't wait, and wish it was already here. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a very real drop in insurance rates for these cars. It may take a few years of insurance history, but I have no doubt that machines can drive better than most drivers I encounter.