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Thursday, 9th April 2015
In Business In Japan,

Nissan wants to put self-driving cars on Japan's roads by 2016

Car manufacturing firm Nissan has announced that it is aiming to put self-driving cars on the roads of Japan by next year, with the hope that the vehicles will be able to navigate busy urban environments on their own by the end of the decade.

Nissan has partnered with NASA for the next five years and is aiming to roll out initial technology prototypes by December 2016, where cars can drive on highways driverless, while by 2018, the models would be able to change lanes and avoid hazards. By 2020, the cars should be able to automatically maneuver in crowded city roads.

It is still obvious, however, that legal and technological obstacles remain. According to Kyodo News, chief executive Carlos Ghosn told attendees of the New York International Auto Show: “There will be a Nissan product in Japan, which will carry autonomous drive. Obviously when you have this kind of technology, you want also the Japanese market to enjoy it as soon as possible.

“It’s going to happen step by step, because we need to make sure that the regulators in the different countries feel comfortable. To persuade the regulators that you can take your hands off the wheel or your eyes from the road is going to take a lot of demonstration.”

Nissan will be working with both Honda and Toyota on the technology, all of them teaming up with electronic businesses and the government to boost self-driving car development. There is also a governing panel set up to look at legal issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, such as who would bear responsibility if an accident occurred on the roads.

Nissan is the second largest automaker in Japan; a country that sees 4,000 traffic-related deaths every year. It is hoped that self-driving cars will reduce accidents as they possibly remove the potential for human error.

Related news stories:
Nissan to raise prices (1st September 2008)
Nissan vice chairman: 'electric vehicle not viable replacement' (5th February 2013)
Nissan and Mitsubishi join forces to produce minicar (11th June 2013)
Nissan to increase production (21st September 2010)