Before the Nissan LEAF with Autonomous Drive went public in CEATEC Japan 2013, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn experienced the technology himself. Ghosn commented that he did not have to drive anything and just sat inside the LEAF. He also noted that the technology has significant improvements compared to two years ago.
Nissan aims to produce commercially-viable Autonomous Drive vehicles by 2020. The developments have been taking place for years, and involved institutions like MIT, Stanford, Oxford, Carnegie Mellon, and the University of Tokyo.
The Autonomous Drive is designed to detect and respond to situations that causes traffic accidents. This is intended to decrease the number of crashes, where in US alone, 6 million cases per year equates to 160 billion dollars in costs. Car accidents rank as a top reason of death for 4 to 34 –year-old individuals. 93% of those accidents are due to human error.
To further the study and development of this technology, those involved in the research is building a facility in Japan to test the car. The facility that will be completed by the end of 2014 will feature real townscapes to push the vehicle to its limits to ensure its effectiveness and safety on public roads.
"In 2007, I pledged that – by 2010 – Nissan would mass market a zero-emission vehicle. Today, the Nissan LEAF is the best-selling electric vehicle in history. Now I am committing to be ready to introduce a new ground-breaking technology, Autonomous Drive, by 2020, and we are on track to realize it," said CEO Carlos Ghosn.