Autonomous vehicles are safer, says Carlos Ghosn

Autonomous vehicles are safer, says Carlos Ghosn image

Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: Nissan Company Ltd. | posted March 04, 2015 06:50

Renault Nissan Alliance CEO says first wave will come by next year

As we hear more and more automakers jump into the ‘autonomous vehicles’ bandwagon, the more tangible and within reach the technology seems to be and surprisingly, according to Renault Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn, it really is.

Speaking at the Mobile World Congress 2015, Ghosn has indicated that all automakers are one in this endeavor.  “All carmakers are developing this technology because it will make cars safer.  It’s going to come in waves,” says Ghosn.

For his company’s part, Renault Nissan Alliance will roll out their version of autonomous cars in three waves, the first one to come in 2016 and it will let cars negotiate stop-and-go traffic without driver intervention.

By 2018, their vehicles will have the ability to drive itself and switch lanes if necessary and the final wave, which is still much further in the future, will have the technology to handle even EDSA-level traffic.

The technology initially will be featured on higher-end Renault and Nissan cars, said Ghosn.

For the skeptics out there, and there are many who think this kind of feature poses more risks than rewards, Ghosn reassures by saying that the driver can override the system at any time and will still be in control of the system and the vehicle at all times.

The one concern automakers cite is obtaining the necessary approvals from various local governments around the world.  Certain countries will have their own interpretation of how the technology should be applied to their streets, which causes major differences in how automakers will program their vehicles to respond in various situations.

Ghosn has a much different view about driverless cars though, indicating that this is much further down the line due to the many technological, legal, regulatory and safety issues that must be taken into consideration before allowing vehicles without drivers out on the streets.

He lauded the news that Apple was working on an electric car, proving that compared to other, more innovative powertrain technologies, going electric is the way of the future.

The thrust to make vehicles safer for the environment is what fuels Ghosn and the Renault Nissan Alliance and he is welcoming automakers and other companies looking to build an electric car.

“We don’t consider that other people making electric cars are competitors; we consider them allies.  Because today, the battle is not who is going to have the biggest share of the electric car business, it’s about how many companies are going to join in promoting zero-emission transportation.  We’re very happy because they are making the electric car much more credible, and they are pushing customers to consider electric cars much more seriously.,” said Ghosn.

In this arena, the challenges are the expansion of charging infrastructures and better but cheaper batteries to make EVs more affordable.

The race is on to make better EVs as more countries make stricter regulations dealing with emissions.

“You are not going to be able to meet emissions regulations in most countries without zero-emissions technologies.  It’s impossible,” said Ghosn.”