Renault-Nissan want self-driving owners to have some control

Nissan-Renault wants self-driving car owners to have some control of the vehicle, at least in the interim, while regulations and infrastructure evolve to fit the new transport landscape.

That was the message at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas, where the Franco-Japanese Corporation showcased its latest self-driving system to the public.

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Like most operators, Nissan is building a system that uses artificial intelligence to make decisions on the road and learn from past experiences. The Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM) system being developed by the company is derived from NASA tech.

At CES 2017, Nissan invited tech, e-commerce, ride-hailing, and social “partners” to join the company in building the self-driving system of the future. It did not mention any specific partnerships it has in the tech world.

“We invite others to join us, as well, from tech partners to e-commerce companies, ride-hailing and car-sharing platforms, and social entrepreneurs who can help us to test and develop new vehicles and services, and make sure everyone has access to the latest technologies and services that bring value to their lives,” said Renault-Nissan Chairman and CEO, Carlos Ghosn.

Keeping focus close to home

Unlike most automakers, Nissan is focused on Japan and plans to start tests of potential commercial vehicles in designated zones this year, in collaboration with internet firm DeNA. Ghosn hopes that by 2020, those tests will cover a large amount of Tokyo’s metropolitan area.

It will also push its ProPilot system onto the next version of the Nissan Leaf, allowing the system to change lanes on the freeway. The company did not say if this would arrive on international versions of the Leaf.

Nissan is behind some automakers in the self-driving race, but the focus on Japan may allow them to carve out a market where others are focused on the U.S. and Europe. The company did not say when it plans to have self-driving cars, or a ride-sharing app, available in Japan for consumers.

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