Nissan plans to put driverless cars on streets by 2020

Humans will be on call to help driverless cars when they encounter difficult situations.

Nissan is working toward technology to put truly driverless cars on the streets of Tokyo by 2020.

The project's goal is driverless commercial vehicles that could deliver packages or transport people on short trips. Work will begin this year with DeNA, a Japanese Internet company, and initial trials will take place in designated driverless car test zones in Japan.

The 2020 goal is aggressive, but Nissan probably has the Tokyo Olympics in mind. Many Japanese companies have similar projects to wow Olympic visitors and help the country put its best foot forward.

A key part of the driverless technology is something Nissan is calling "seamless autonomous mobility." It's basically an on-call human assistant to help autonomous vehicles when they encounter something that isn't in their programming.

For example, if human drivers encountered something blocking one half of a road, they would wait until it is safe and then cross to the other side to get around the obstacle. An autonomous car is programmed to never cross the center line, so it would just sit there for hours.

Working with NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, engineers at Nissan's nearby technology center are demonstrating a version of the technology where a driverless car pages a human operator. The operator looks at the sensor output from the car to figure out the problem and sends it instructions on what to do.

"This technology will make it possible for more autonomous vehicles to be on the road sooner," said Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan, during a keynote at CES in Las Vegas.

Nissan has set four technology levels as it works toward fully driverless cars.

The first is tech that allows cars to stay in their lanes and a safe distance from other vehicles. It's already a reality in Japan. Called ProPilot, it's fitted into Nissan's Serena minivan and will be coming to a new version of the Nissan Leaf electric car.

Stage two is a system for autonomous driving on multi-lane highways, which includes the ability to change lanes. That is projected to appear in cars next year.

The third stage is fully automatic city driving. This is the level of the service Nissan hopes to start in Tokyo in 2020.

The final level is full driverless cars that can take to the roads anywhere. Nissan didn't provide a target date for this technology but said it will increase testing this year as it works toward making it a reality.

Nissan had previously said it plans to offer 10 models of car with some level of autonomous driving by 2020.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags CES 2017

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?