Nissan Aiming To Lead The Autonomous Car Race

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Elon Musk claims that Tesla is in the process of making an autonomous vehicle and that they will be out with one long before the competition. Carlos Ghosn, the big boss at Renault-Nissan, disagreed. In fact, his response to Tesla’s claims was said to be “scathing.”

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Nissan seems to think that the earliest form of a self-driving vehicle will be in the market is 2020. Furthermore, Nissan claims to be in the process of making that happen.

Tesla says that self-driving vehicles will be on the market in as little as 24 to 36 months. In fact, Tesla claims that one of his company’s vehicles is set to drive across the United States within that timeframe. Ghosn wouldn’t budge on the matter – he says that true autonomy is still years away. Of course, it could be all down to semantics. Musk is known for his hyperbole, and Ghosn for his steely pragmatism.

At the preshow reception of the Detroit Auto Show, Ghosn tells journalists to “judge what’s already on the market.” What’s interesting is how stubbornly Ghosn insists that autonomous cars are still four years away.

What Is an Autonomous Car?

He asks people about the definition of an autonomous car. Does it mean that it can merely switch lanes? If that’s the case, then those vehicles are already here. However, when it comes to inner-city driving with complicated situations such as crosswalks, true autonomy is not here yet. He finished his speech by saying that consumers want to do more than just buy a car – they also want to drive it.

He says that even if we have the technology, road regulations still require drivers to have two hands on the wheel with their eyes on the road. The very idea of autonomy means that you can be preoccupied with something else – activities that do not include driving.

Autonomy Is a Revolutionary and Novel Idea

Ghosn does say this about self-driving cars. Autonomous cars are a revolutionary and novel idea because it will allow freedom of movement by the older generation. He says this technology will allow people to get around, despite any possible disability – including old age. Many people of the older generation stop driving because they lose the ability to drive. He says autonomous cars can provide a solution. On top of that, he says that the planet’s population is getting older, making autonomous cars not just a luxury, but a necessity. People who are 80 or 90 years old will be able to get around independently with an autonomous car.

While many people echo Ghosn’s comments, they also believe that truly autonomous cars will not be on the market until at least 2025 due to the complexities of an urban environment.

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