In August 2013 Nissan made an announcement that it plans to create its own self-driving vehicle by 2020. The company sees its new project as a chance to introduce something revolutionary for its customers. To make this bold idea true, Nissan will need specialized hardware – cameras for ‘reading’ the surrounding objects, sensors for detecting the distance between vehicles, laser units to understand what object is in front of you, sensors to find your location – as well as software programs that would analyze the received data and work out immediate decisions of the car’s next maneuver. Moreover, we should not forget about functioning in complicated road and weather conditions.
Nissan’s executive VP Andy Palmer stated that the company’s driverless cars are going to use some new features, as well as to be armed with those technologies the company has already implemented on its current models. The future autonomous vehicle is to be driverless and have an opportunity to be switched to manual mode, too. A driver should not be limited in choosing the perfect driving manner for himself. And Nissan has already presented its prototype self-driving car with selectable options for a driver.
Specialists refer Nissan’s current driverless models to the semiautonomous category. Such vehicle can control itself on the lane and change speed seeing respective road signs. Moreover, if a car has some troubles with staying within the same lane, the alarm system will notify a driver about these mistakes. If a driver wants, the system will also correct the track and leave a vehicle to its lane marked on a highway. The braking function can also intervene by applying the brakes in emergency situation, when a driver fails to stop or slow down the car appropriately. However, many may argue that semiautonomous functions are far easier than the complete driverless system, where the self-driving software is responsible for every step in driving and can make decisions immediately.
Skeptics among scientists are rather numerous today. Some of them believe autonomous technologies will be too complicated for people. Autopilots planes are equipped with cannot be called absolutely safe systems that can replace a human. Others say that the main problem even lays not in creation of such self-driving technologies, but in working out convenient and easy-to-understand interfaces. Even more important is the thing that men should not lose their abilities and skills trying to replace human drivers with machines. However, traffic authorities see appearance of autonomous cars as a positive step forward, if these cars are to reduce those thousands of deaths because of car accidents that every developed and rather big country has annually.
Nissan doesn’t want to cooperate with any of today’s companies that develop only the self-driving technology (like Google), but is eager to create its own vehicle with domestic technology. Here the company will face such automaker competitors as Audi or Toyota that have already announced their driverless car campaigns, too.
Despite of all difficulties Nissan will face on its way to its autonomous vehicle, experts say these plans are rather smart and promising for the company. It will enhance its reputation and open a new chapter in Nissan’s history demonstrating the company’s progress and ability to be up-to-date.