Getting its semi-autonomous Leaf legalized in Japan was just the first step. Now, Nissan is giving demonstrations of what its fully autonomous car is capable of at this year's Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) show – Japan's equivalent to America's Consumer Electronics Show. To show off the possibilities of its technologies, Nissan had an oval track set up at the show giving rides in an autonomous Leaf to the media. Even Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and Toyota CEO Akio Toyodo caught a ride.

Nissan has since released a couple videos of its CEATEC demos, with one designed to look like a news report. In this video, you can watch the car go around the track and navigate intersections and road hazards. The second video shows Ghosn riding in the car, and he hints that Nissan's goal of having an autonomous vehicle in production by 2020 might be more of a worst-case scenario. Watch both videos and read through Nissan's official press release below.


Show full PR text
The Car That Drives Itself: Nissan's Autonomous Drive

Oct. 4 – Makuhari, Chiba – We're at CEATEC Japan 2013 in a Nissan LEAF, but this will be one of the very first public demonstrations of Autonomous Drive technology in Japan.

Many people, including media, have already been driven around in the AD car, including the CEO of Toyota, Akio Toyoda.

Now we're going to see how the AD vehicle handles – without actually having our hands on the steering wheel.

Safety is the main objective. Speed is calculated to match the width of the turn. Five cameras and five laser scanners are the all-seeing eyes of the vehicle, identifying signs and markers on the road, what to avoid, and in what direction to advance.

In these road-like scenarios, the car can yield to a vehicle and move around a stalled one – all by itself. Developing the perfect driver through technology, however, is no easy task.

Toru Futami, Expert Leader for Nissan's IT & ITS Development department, said this technology is much more complex than the driverless, automated valet park function that Nissan exhibited at CEATEC last year.

"There are not only other cars on the road, but also people and bicycles," said Futami. "Children might run after a ball rolling into the street. In these kinds of complex scenarios, there are many things that you need to be aware of. You also need to anticipate how the cars and people around you will move. Only when you can effectively do both, can you be sure you're driving safely."

Phoenix Satellite TV presenter Li Hui
Engineers and specialists, such as Futami, spoke with international and Japanese media crews who took rides for the debut.

Phoenix Satellite Television presenter Li Hui said she thinks the autonomous drive technology would be popular among women living in China and Hong Kong.

"In today's working-class China, more women are driving themselves to work, and on their journey in, they have a lot of things to do," says Li. "For example, putting on their makeup, eating breakfast, and so on. If such technologies were made available immediately in the Chinese market, a lot of people would appreciate it."

Not only easier, but safer, as Nissan aims for zero emissions and zero fatalities on the roads.

Nissan's Autonomous Driving technology won the Grand Prix at this year's CEATEC Innovation Awards. And through October 5th, the Autonomous Drive car will continue to take a spin around CEATEC, before finding more road traction in the months ahead.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      Electron
      • 1 Year Ago
      So in the future we can just activate the vehicle, state the destination and take a nap? Of course not, the "driver" will remain responsible for the actions of the vehicle. So in the future we will be babysitting robotised vehicles awkwardly manoeuvring through heavy traffic. Sigh...
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Electron
        That's just a transition period. Right now, the tech is new and unproven... the liability is extremely high, and the users have little confidence. That will eventually change. I will likely take a human generation. When we're used to it, and trust it (more than ourselves) then letting go completely and giving up control would be easy.
      Cruising
      • 1 Year Ago
      Nice work, do want that illuminated steering wheel. I like that it looks like a normal car without all the extra equipment attached to it like we have seen in autonomous cars of the past.
      David
      • 1 Year Ago
      How will an autonomous car interact with the vast majority of vehicles that will still have a loose nut behind the wheel?
        Seal Rchin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @David
        But we already have cars that have crash avoidance systems, like Volvos thing, Caddy is developing a self driving, speed and steering adjusted cruise control (you control the wheel, car drives by itself, adjusts speed according to traffic and makes sure you do not drift gently in and out of lane...but you still control the steering.) So as "regular" cars develop "brains" the autonomous cars will interact with those semi smart cars's safety systems.
      Ducman69
      • 1 Year Ago
      On the one hand, asians are known to be among the best and brightest when it comes to robotics and automation... on the other hand, do I really want an asian teaching anything to drive?
        Rich
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ducman69
        Racist, and I support your claims!
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      Its a good a thing for the LEAF. If by the crazy chance I was the owner of one, I'd be wearing a paper bag over my head.
        Seal Rchin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        Go right ahead, but others will seat in there listening to their music, taking a nice nap on the way to work.
        A W
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        Isn\'t it hard driving a scooter with a paper bag over your head anyways since you wear one for life given your ignorance?
      Captain Stu
      • 1 Year Ago
      Driverless cars are a perfect example of "just because you can, doesn't mean you should".
        Seal Rchin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Captain Stu
        Ok, well what if you can't? What if you are old and can not drive yourself, does that mean you have to depend on someone to drive you to the supermarket? You do realize there are old people who need to be driven.........who can not afford a taxi every day. Those who do want to use a taxi will be able to do so without a driver.........thus removing the costliest item of the taxi fare. Why can't you just think, do you have any education at all.....on any level?
          ElectricAvenue
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Seal Rchin
          Need? Only if you believe in a world for which there is no alternative to driving everywhere.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Captain Stu
        And the aging population in Japan is HUGE compared to the U.S. ... they are going to NEED this.
      EZen
      • 1 Year Ago
      An ugly car without any exhaust noise, proper driving dynamic, heavy, very limited range, and not even able to drive the thing - sounds like my least favorite car ever.
        SteveG
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZen
        An interesting looking car that is quiet, drives as you expect and even drives itself? Sounds like my favorite car ever!
      danfred311
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's relatively easy to get autonomous driving working for the most part. But it's the special cases and the localization that is killer. Every local law in all the world, each car has to instantly be expert at, even impossible laws. every road work improvised signage. Every enterprising citizen taking it upon himself to direct traffic when the lights are out. Every flooded road, every festival modification. It's a technological feat WAY above what the simpleton car makers have ever done. They struggle with trivialities such as aerodynamics and low weight and they are going to pull off AI? not without my help.
        Alfonso T. Alvarez
        • 1 Year Ago
        @danfred311
        " .... the simpleton car makers have ever done. " Wow, just wow Dan F!!!! You are yet again so clueless and so full of yourself that it just boggles the mind how you continue to function in the world! You are so pathetically ludicrous and lacking of even the most basic understanding of engineering that I, and most who comment here, wonder how you are even able to be cognizant in reality!
          danfred311
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          I struggle :) And I think you mean cognizant of reality. Of is the proper preposition to use with cognizant. Perhaps I'm not so much clueless as you are petty.
        rjstanford
        • 1 Year Ago
        @danfred311
        Everything you've said is true for human drivers also. Humans screw up too - a whole lot. According to http://www.rmiia.org/auto/traffic_safety/Cost_of_crashes.asp which quotes the NHTSA, there are ~5.5m crashes per year causing ~1.5m injuries and 30-35K fatalities. That's quite a lot. If autonomous cars can get that down by 10% it'd be a great win. Of course, there'll be a ton of bad press about it because very few people think about the news they read.
      Bill C
      • 1 Year Ago
      So who gets the ticket when the car goes nuts and breaks the law? Sounds like a grey area to me. How could it be my fault their software has bugs? Another thought, no need for parking garages. Your car could drop you off, drive home, and pick you up later.
        archos
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bill C
        You think there would be any doubt with a car with cameras and tracking systems? Having your car drive home and back also uses up alot of gas for absolutely no point.
      RocketRed
      • 1 Year Ago
      A bald eagle sheds a single tear every time an autonomous automobile drives off.
      PiCASSO
      • 1 Year Ago
      Her face is a bit too shinny and needs one of those removing pads... I can just imagine using one of these vehicles to get myself home after a night of drinking at the bar. But at the 20-25 km/h speeds, I'm sure that I'll get pulled over. The neon steering wheel won't help either, as cops will notice that from miles away. Nissan will need to disable that feature for night driving with a drunk like me in the back.
      GO MUSTANG
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would have dared someone to jump in front of the demo vehicle to see if he would get run over...
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