Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., last week announced the Japanese carmaker's launch timetable for the latest vehicle automation technologies aimed at accelerating consumer adoption of Autonomous Drive systems. 

The Nissan CEO said new technologies including automated lane controls and highway traffic management systems, to be introduced over the next four years, would demonstrate to consumers the viability and value of Autonomous Drive systems, which Nissan intends to make commercially viable by 2020. 

Autonomous Drive technologies, which are being introduced progressively by Nissan, are designed to enhance road safety and driving conditions by automating everyday tasks for motorists. Unlike pilot-projects for completely self-driving vehicles, currently undergoing preliminary tests elsewhere in the industry, drivers remain in control and `at the wheel' in Nissan models equipped with Autonomous Drive functions.

"By the end of 2016, Nissan will make available the next two technologies under its autonomous drive strategy," said Mr. Ghosn. "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."

In a speech to the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, he added: "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."