Move over Google: automaker Nissan says it's aiming to have multiple self-driving cars on the market by 2020. The company made the ambitious announcement on Tuesday in a presentation to reporters, where it also revealed that it's not collaborating with Mountain View on the effort. Instead, Nissan is relying on its own engineers and a number of universities including Stanford, MIT, Oxford, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Tokyo to help create its autonomous driving technology.
It's not the first time Nissan has mentioned 2020 as a target date, but the company is expanding on its plans a bit further today. These self-driving cars will be tested on a track — or "proving ground" as Nissan calls it — that will be erected in Japan by the end of 2014. The track will feature "real townscapes" and "will be used to push vehicle testing beyond the limits possible on public roads to ensure the technology is safe."
Nissan says the ultimate goal is implementing autonomous capabilities "across the model range within two vehicle generations." How does that cost translate to consumers? Nissan says the vehicles will be "commercially-viable" and sold at "realistic prices." According to CNBC, the automaker says self-driving technology may only hike the cost of luxury automobile by about $1,000. Local driving regulations will also have to allow such cars on the road, but lawmakers are already showing support for the idea.