Are you ready to have your very own self-driving car? While the technology has been relegated to a few eye-popping tests from Google (s goog), Nissan is determined to make it a reality. Bloomberg reports that the Japanese automaker will aim to bring driverless cars to the masses by 2020, utilizing its emissions-free Leaf.
Utilizing the Leaf for self-driving capabilities isn’t actually that far-fetched, considering that a team of Oxford researchers created a system that does just that for only $7,000. It also showed off a series of driverless Leaf vehicles on an Irvine race track during its Nissan 360 event, which ferried around people in a simulated urban environment.
While the Nissan has most of the logistics figured out, it will have to spend the next seven years perfecting a system that allows for flawless, accident-free robotic driving. Bloomberg notes that Nissan is developing its system in-house, but would also consider partnering with Google to boost the system. The big difference is that Nissan wants to make its data system Internet-free — a challenge considering the ever-changing conditions of roads.There is also the challenge of refining sensors quickly enough to detect obstacles and other cars, while making the car smart enough to detect new routes and think on the fly.
It’s a tall order to complete all of this by the dawning of the next decade, because driverless cars need to be “crash-free” in order to be appealing to a commercial audience — there’s a lot to be done before you start seeing a driverless cars on the way to the grocery store. However, it’s not unlikely that the fruits of Nissan’s hard work will unfold over time, particularly its next Leaf models, to create better driver-assist and accident monitoring technology.