For those of you wondering exactly when you’ll be able to take your hands off the wheel and let your self-driving car ferry you to work while you munch on a scone and finish a crossword puzzle, Nissan has provided an answer. The company plans to have commercially viable autonomous drive technology in multiple vehicles by 2020.
In an announcement at the end of August, the company outlined its plans, including the construction of a dedicated autonomous driving proving ground in Japan that should be completed in 2014. The facility will include mock townscapes that include real masonry buildings in order to perform tests that go beyond what is currently possible on public roads.
At the Nissan 360 event in Southern California (which runs through Sept. 15), the company is demonstrating Nissan LEAFs outfitted with laser scanners, around-view monitor cameras, and advanced artificial intelligence and actuators. The autonomous driving technology builds on the company’s Safety Shield system, which provides 360-degree monitoring around the vehicle and offers warnings to drivers. According to the company, it could also be integrated with a navigation system for reaching predetermined destinations.
The company opened its sixth autonomous vehicle and connected car research center in Sunnyvale, CA, earlier this year.
Nissan isn’t the first OEM to peg 2020 as the year of the autonomous vehicle. GM Vice President Alan Taub previously indicated fully autonomous vehicles could be on the road by then, as has automotive supplier Continental. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), however, has targeted 2022.
For a detailed explanation of how these systems are modeled and tested, check out this Desktop Engineering article on test benches, published in June.