Last August, Nissan Motor CEO Carlos Ghosn stated his firm would have its first self-driving car on the road in 2020. This week, he admitted that a hands-free vehicle is simply not going to happen in that timeframe - for Nissan or anyone else. However, the chief exec did present a revised schedule for the launch of several supplemental Autonomous Drive systems Nissan plans to "make commercially viable by 2020."

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In a wide-ranging speech before the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, Ghosn promised two new Autonomous Drive technologies by the end of 2016 and two more two years on. "We are bringing to market a traffic-jam pilot, a technology enabling cars to drive autonomously - and safely - on congested highways. In the same timeframe, we will make fully-automated parking systems available across a wide range of vehicles. This will be followed in 2018 by the introduction of multiple-lane controls, allowing cars to autonomously negotiate hazards and change lanes. And before the end of the decade, we will introduce intersection-autonomy, enabling vehicles to negotiate city cross-roads without driver intervention."

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More connectivity

Ghosn went on to note that he expects over 1.5 million Nissan vehicles to be connected to some form of enhanced communications by 2015 using various cloud-based systems that will provide better access to social media, entertainment apps and voice-recognition software. He sees the general connectively trend being accelerated by the growth of mega-cities with populations in excess of 10 million, locales where optimizing road use in ways that limit congestion and lower vehicle emissions is a paramount concern. As for the ultimate hands-free goal, Ghosn remains resolute: "We plan to lead in delivering Autonomous Drive vehicles." 

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