Could Your Nissan LEAF Drive You Round The Bend? One Day

Maybe it’s Monday morning in winter, the sun isn’t even out of bed and you are leaving the warmth of your house and heading out to work in your car. You get into the car, press ‘Work’ on the dash and slip back into a snooze while your car takes you to work.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in the self-driving Leaf. Image ©Nissan

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in the self-driving Leaf. Image ©Nissan

That may sound a bit like science fiction but it is the goal being pursued by a number of car manufacturers. The latest of which to demo the current state of their technology is Nissan.

At the CEATEC Japan 2013 convention, Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn took the car for a spin – or rather, the car took him for a spin – to showcase their technology.

With little external evidence of any modification, bar a cool neon-blue glow coming from beneath the car and some additional sensors, Ghosn was driven around an indoor track. The car executing some standard manoeuvres such as avoiding a parked car and stopping at an intersection without issue.

Nissan has a self-imposed deadline of 2020 to get self-driving cars on sale to the public. Ghosn stated that ‘2020, in my opinion, is going to be the latest because we are under pressure from a lot of competition’.

One of those competitors being Tesla Motors. CEO Elon Musk has suggested that a ‘mostly autonomous car’ could be a reality within three years. While not being fully self-driving, Tesla’s car would be able to drive itself 90% of the time – presumably building on already existing technologies such as automatic parking, cruise control and lane departure warning systems.

The wider question raised within the Transport Evolved offices, and by Robert Llewellyn on Transport Evolved 167, is whether this technology will lead to a new model of car ownership. Will we all own our own self-driving vehicle, or will we just order one up when needed like a driverless taxi?

Let us know your thoughts below.


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