JAPANESE CAR MAKER Nissan plans to sell fully self-driving cars within seven years.
Nissan EVP Andy Palmer revealed the firm's plans for its Autonomous Drive project at a media event in Irvine, California on Tuesday, declaring that the self-driving vehicles will be sold "at realistic prices for consumers" by 2020.
Self-driving cars, also known as autonomous drive vehicles, use sensors and cameras to detect roads, lanes and objects around them to cruise unguided without human involvement.
Nissan said its goal for the cars is "availability across the model range within two vehicle generations", and it is working with universities, such as MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, Oxford and The University of Tokyo to develop its self-drive technology further.
"Nissan is demonstrating the breadth of the capability of its autonomous drive technology for the first time at Nissan 360, a huge test drive and stakeholder interaction event being held in Southern California," the car company said in a statement. "Laser scanners, Around View Monitor cameras, as well as advanced artificial intelligence and actuators, have been installed in Nissan LEAFs to enable them to negotiate complex real-world driving scenarios."
However, the firm admits that the concept of Autonomous Drive will have implications throughout the design and construction of the cars, such as collision-avoidance, which refers to machines that have been built with the ability to react more quickly and with more complex movements than a human driver, which will place new demands on the chassis and traction control.
In the race to be first to sell a driverless car, Nissan will be competing against firms like Google, which has also been testing self-driving car technology for some time. The technology giant announced just over a year ago that its driverless cars had racked up almost 300,000 miles on the clock with no recorded accidents.
Announced by Google in 2011, the project aims to push the boundaries of technology by introducing driverless technology into the real world, though unlike Nissan the firm hasn't projected any date for its arrival. µ
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