Nissan has entered the race to get self-driving technology on the market.
The Japanese car manufacturer announced that it’s testing an autonomous, zero-emissions Intelligent Driving System (IDS) concept car based on the Nissan Leaf.
The company has already begun testing the vehicle on Japanese inner city roads.
The prototype car has a “Piloted Drive” mode, a feature that takes control of the vehicle in highway conditions or heavy traffic – similar to Tesla’s Autopilot.
To make “Piloted Drive” possible the prototype vehicle comes equipped with a high-spec laser that can accurately measure the distance between the car and nearby objects in addition to an eight-way camera with a 360-degree view that synchronizes with the laser to help the autonomous system make a decision.
Nissan said that it plans on offering “Piloted Drive 1.0” by the end of 2016 in Japan. Piloted Drive 1.0 allows for autonomous driving under heavy highway traffic conditions.
By 2018, the company plans on rolling out a multiple lane piloted drive that can conduct lane changes on highways.
And by 2020 it hopes to implement technology that will allow vehicles to handle urban roads- – including intersections – autonomously.
Design director Mitsunori Morita said in a statement. “A key point behind the Nissan IDS Concept is communication,”
“For autonomous drive to become reality, as a society we have to consider not only communication between car and driver, but also between cars and people,” He added.
“We at Nissan are setting clear goals and preparing for the implementation of piloted drive,” said senior vice president of Nissan, Takao Asami. “The prototype that we’re introducing here today is proof of how close we are towards the realization of this goal. Nissan aspires for a safe and trouble-free motoring future, and we plan on leading the industry in the implementation of piloted drive.”