The Renault-Nissan Alliance is now officially competing in the race to build autonomous cars, and plans on introducing 10 different models capable of temporarily relieving humans from the need to control the car on highways and city streets, AP reported.
The plan, laid out on Thursday, requires for Renault-Nissan to gradually stage in the self-driving vehicles in the U.S., Europe, Japan and China as its engineers adjust the automated technology and try to manage the difficulties of regulators on safety concerns.
If things work out the way Renault-Nissan envisions, its first batch of self-driving cars debuting later this year will be able to steer while traveling down a single lane on the highway.
Moreover,by 2018, the cars will be able to automatically navigate across several highway lanes and then handle traversing city streets on their own by 2020.
Despite the modern attempt, some cars, such as Tesla Motors’ latest luxury models, are already capable of shifting into self-driving mode on highways, while other vehicles have been able to automatically park themselves for several years now.
The alliance still has a lot of work to do to perfect its robotic technology; a point illustrated during a Thursday test drive in a self-driving Nissan Leaf with an Associated Press reporter.
Even though the technology still stumbles on some blocks, it is relentlessly aiming to change the way people get around and reduce the
number of traffic accidents caused by distracted, drunk or hapless humans behind the wheel.
The competition towards automated technology includes Toyota, Ford Motor, General Motors, Google Inc., ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft and possibly even Apple Inc.
The intensifying focus on self-driving technology reflects a belief that people would rather be texting, checking Facebook, reading, or watching videos instead of spending so much time tediously steering and braking on increasingly congested roads.
Google, has recorded more than 1 million miles in self-driving cars since 2009, and is hoping to have vehicles that don’t require any human intervention on the road by 2020 in licensing deals with established automakers.
However, Researchers have already determined that the transition from when a car shifts from robotic driving to human control creates a dangerous situation. That’s because people may not be ready to take over the driving responsibilities if they were too absorbed doing something else while the vehicle was in autonomous mode.
Renault-Nissan believes that hazard will lessen as drivers become more accustomed to what autonomous driving can and can’t do.
“It’s going to happen in waves”, CEO Carlos Ghosn said. “We want to make sure our technology is accepted, understood and used.”