Nissan has big plans for its autonomous driving technology, and the car maker announced its intentions a few days ago with a prototype based on the Nissan Leaf.
The goal, as Nissan describes it, is to launch the “Piloted Drive 1.0” program – which will allow for autonomous driving under heavy traffic conditions – by the end of 2016, and to release a multiple lane piloted drive – which can perform lane changes on highways – as an update by 2018.
So, following the unveiling of the IDS concept at Tokyo Motor Show, which previews the next generation Leaf and also Nissan’s autonomous driving tech, Takao Asami, Nissan’s Global Vice President for Research and Advanced Engineering, told Top Gear that Nissan’s performance models will be included in the autonomous program, although the application could be different from the Leaf:
“Even the most enthusiastic drivers make mistakes. Machines are more capable, reliable and better than even the best racing drivers. So thanks to autonomous driving technology we can offer even more driving pleasure out of performance vehicles.”
Needless to say, the British magazine believes that Takao Asami isn’t talking about an autonomous program made to change lanes (dedicated specifically for the next-gen GT-R and Z models), but to race the cars instead.
Imagine an autopilot built specifically to push the automobile’s limits on a track. Brake late, take the best line and show you the points you can improve – if you have the guts, of course. Don’t worry, as long as Nissan doesn’t name the program “Skynet”, we’re in the clear.
Moreover, we’ll have to wait a little before such a program is even developed, let alone implemented, especially as Nissan isn’t willing to retire (for now) its superstar supercar, as Shiro Nakamura, Nissan’s chief creative officer, stated:
“The GT-R is seven years old, so people think that it’s at the end of its life. But performance-wise it’s still one of the fastest cars in the world. And design-wise, it still looks very independent. But we have some major improvements for the current car that you will see next year.”
Nissan 2020 Vision Gran Turismo Concept pictured