Renault-Nissan will introduce driverless tech in multiple phases over the next four years. The first step will come later this year with the introduction of a single-lane autonomous system that will be able to go down the highway and manage stop-and-go traffic automatically. The next innovation in 2018 will offer multi-lane capability, and the ability to automatically pass other vehicles on the road. Another big jump will come in 2020 with the ability for models to navigate intersections and urban areas without a driver's control. Renault and Nissan engineers will develop all of this together, and the results will be available in both of the company's brands.
Ghosn explained this roadmap towards an autonomous future last year but cautioned that Renault-Nissan didn't plan to take complete control away from owners. Instead, the company sees these systems as a way to make people even safer behind the wheel by reducing the chance for driver error. The automaker's deliberate introduction strategy is prudent because it can potentially adapt to proposed regulations that could mandate rules on how piloted vehicles operate.
World's fourth largest car group confirms autonomous drive and connectivity timeline through 2020
Fatal and serious injuries have been significantly reduced; new technologies will help make cars even safer
Car group hires new executive to oversee connectivity and connected car services globally
SUNNYVALE, Calif. – The Renault-Nissan Alliance will launch more than 10 vehicles with autonomous drive technology in the next four years.
The global car group confirmed today that it will launch a range of vehicles with autonomous capabilities in the United States, Europe, Japan and China through 2020. The technology will be installed on mainstream, mass-market cars at affordable prices.
In addition, Renault-Nissan will launch a suite of new connectivity applications that will make it easier for people to stay connected to work, entertainment and social networks.
"Renault-Nissan Alliance is deeply committed to the twin goals of 'zero emissions and zero fatalities,'" Renault-Nissan Alliance chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn said at the Renault-Nissan Silicon Valley Research Center. "That's why we are developing autonomous driving and connectivity for mass-market, mainstream vehicles on three continents."
Zero emission and zero fatalities
Renault-Nissan is already the industry's zero-emission leader by far. The Alliance has sold nearly 300,000 all-electric vehicles since the first Nissan LEAF was sold in the San Francisco Bay Area in December 2010.
Safety and efficiency of vehicles across the Renault-Nissan Alliance have increased dramatically. For instance, fatal and serious injuries in Nissan vehicles in Japan decreased 61 percent in 20 years; fatal and serious injuries in Renault vehicles in France decreased 80 percent in 15 years.
Autonomous drive is expected to help further reduce driver error, which is responsible for up to 90 percent of all fatalities.
The year 2016 will mark the debut of vehicles with "single-lane control," a feature that allows cars to drive autonomously on highways, including in heavy, stop-and-go traffic. In 2018, Renault-Nissan will launch vehicles with "multiple-lane control," which can autonomously negotiate hazards and change lanes during highway driving. And 2020 will see the launch of "intersection autonomy," which can navigate city intersections and heavy urban traffic without driver intervention.
Later this year the Alliance will launch a new automotive app for mobile devices, which allows remote interaction with your car. Next year, it will launch the first "Alliance Multimedia System," providing new multimedia and navigation features, as well as improved smartphone integration and wireless map updates. In 2018, the Alliance Connectivity & Internet of Things platform will support the new Virtual Personal Assistant feature for individual and business customers.
All of the Alliance's autonomous drive technology will be available at the option of the driver.
Convergence for the win
In 2014, Renault-Nissan "converged" both companies' engineering organizations. Engineers at Renault and Nissan work together as one team to reduce duplication in the development of next-generation technologies. The technology Renault and Nissan engineers develop together is then available for each company and all brands to use where it makes sense for consumers.
In other words, Renault-Nissan engineers have developed a "technology tool kit," including hardware and software applications. Product teams from Renault, Nissan, Infiniti and other Alliance brands may select those applications for their models, where appropriate. By partnering on advanced research and development, Renault and Nissan are able to work more efficiently, with less cost, and thereby deliver higher value vehicles to their customers.
Renault-Nissan has a research and development budget of about US$5 billion. The world's fourth largest car group, which sells one in 10 cars globally, has research centers in Atsugi, Japan; Guyancourt, France; Farmington Hills, Michigan; and Sunnyvale, California. Renault-Nissan also has large engineering centers in India, Brazil, Romania, Turkey and China, among others.
The Alliance also announced today the hiring of technology executive Ogi Redzic to lead the global car group's connected car initiative as Alliance senior vice president, Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services.
Redzic joins Renault-Nissan after positions at Nokia, NAVTEQ, Motorola, and at wireless communication startup cyberPIXIE. He most recently served as senior vice president, Automotive at Nokia HERE, where he led the Automotive Business Group. Redzic, whose new role is effective immediately, will be based in Paris and oversee teams in France and Japan.
About the Renault-Nissan Alliance
The Renault-Nissan Alliance is a strategic partnership between Paris-based Renault and Yokohama, Japan-based Nissan, which together sell one in 10 cars worldwide. The companies, which have been strategic partners since 1999, sold 8.5 million vehicles in nearly 200 countries in 2014. The Alliance has strategic collaborations with automakers including Germany's Daimler, Japan's Mitsubishi, China's Dongfeng, and India's Ashok Leyland. The Alliance also owns a majority stake in the joint venture which controls Russia's AVTOVAZ, maker of the Lada brand.