Nissan to have self-driving cars by 2020
Google, currently leading the discussion of autonomous vehicles, may have some competition when it comes to robot cars lacking drivers. Nissan has announced they'll have self driving car for sale by 2020. Not only that, but they'll be developing it without consulting with Google. Nissan will be using its own engineers and a number of universities including Stanford, MIT, Oxford, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Tokyo
While Ford, Toyota and GM are currently developing technologies to help a driver steer, accelerate and brake without much interaction, Nissan is the first major automaker to decide to compete with Google on the autonomous car level. Nissan is estimating the cost to consumers will be around $1,000 more than their luxury vehicles will be priced. This is all well and good, and while it looks nice on a test track, only Google has the power to change the infrastructure of the United States to support driver-less cars.
While certain states and lawmakers are already showing support for autonomous vehicles, there is no way that they will ever be viable on the roads we have now. Omit the fact that the infrastructure in the United States is nearly beyond repair, but a robot car will never be able to emulate human nature and decision making. While one could enter every possible scenario into the programming of a vehicle (there would be millions of them at least) the human element has to be considered.
Yet, if the infrastructure is created to adapt to autonomous vehicles, then the variables in travel disappear. Which is why it is strange that Nissan wants to make a go of it without coordinating with Google, who already has a lock on the technology and is already changing the infrastructure. What happens when Google works with the government to create the appropriate grid for their vehicles and Nissan's vehicles aren't compatible with that grid? Google has that power, and that money to be able to do so. Nissan, no matter how quickly they achieve their goal, will never have the influence in government and policy change that Google has.