YOKOHAMA – Nissan Motor Co. will have vehicles packed with autonomous driving technology by 2020 but whether people will be able to drive them on roads is up to government regulators, Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said at the company’s headquarters in Yokohama on Monday.
Many of the world’s automakers, and companies outside the auto industry such as Google, are working on technologies that will allow cars to navigate without human intervention.
Ghosn said progress is being made toward the automaker’s goal of delivering that technology by 2020.
“Our cars will be ready,” he said, even if regulation is not.
The bigger hurdle for making such vehicles available to consumers is securing approval from regulators around the world, Ghosn told reporters.
Ghosn said autonomous driving is sure to be part of the cars of the future because market studies of consumer demands, especially younger drivers, show that is what they want, along with connectivity and very low emissions from vehicle engines.
Connectivity means having access to the Internet, seeing movies and duplicating in the vehicle the other experiences a person has at home or in the office, Ghosn said.
On zero emissions, he said that Nissan is banking on electric cars rather than other zero-emissions technologies, for the near future. Nissan makes the Leaf electric car.
Ghosn said Nissan believes autonomous vehicles will make driving more enjoyable, but that a totally driverless car is not at the center of the automaker’s plans.
The autonomous driving Nissan foresees will assist or enhance driving, he said. Nissan may end up with a driverless car, but that is not the automaker’s goal, he said.
“That is the car of the future,” he said. “But the consumer is more conservative,” he said. “That makes us cautious.”