Nissan took a big step forward in the race to produce commercially viable autonomous, or self driving cars, announcing Tuesday that the Japanese auto maker will be selling autonomous models by 2020. It is no secret that Nissan has been working on the technology for a self driving car for some time as many other auto makers, including General Motors, Audi, Toyota, Ford, and Volkswagen have, but the self imposed time limit of seven years from today took many by surprise.
Estimates earlier this year put autonomous technology as likely to be commercially used by 2025 – five years later than Nissan now says it will have its cars available for consumer purchase. Nissan has a history of meeting its aggressive production goals. Its chief executive claims that in 2007, Nissan pledged to make an all-electric car by 2010 and responded with the Nissan Leaf which has found commercial success in the American market.
Unlike the venture into fully electric cars, when it comes to an autonomous vehicle, Nissan claims that it will have several unique models of cars on the market in seven years, all utilizing its driving system known as Autonomous Drive. With the implemented technology, a car will be able to drive without a human actively controlling the car’s motions. From entering a highway to exiting, turning at an intersection and starting and stopping, the car’s internal computer will do it all.
Some current luxury vehicles on the market have some semi-autonomous features that have been well received by the public. Several use adaptive cruise control which keeps the car a specified distance from any car in front of it, slowing the car as necessary so that the risk of a rear end collision is decreased. Others automatically apply the brakes when a hazard is sensed in the road. The brakes can be applied even before a human has an opportunity to respond, increasing the odds that the vehicle will stop before a collision occurs. Another recent feature that is catching on is blindspot alert where a visual cue informs a driver when a vehicle is in a blind spot, making the driver aware that he or she should refrain from changing lanes until it is safe to do so.
New technology is improving the safety of vehicles on Illinois roads and increasing the chances that victims of car accidents will survive. The belief is that autonomous vehicles will further increase safety while also adding convenience to the lives of Americans. With the ability to set a course and then engage in other tasks while riding, the belief is that many common driving practices will be eliminated. It will no longer be necessary to focus on the road if you have a self driving car so an operator will be free to make phone calls or send text messages if desired. Adults who have been drinking may still be able to use their own vehicles to get home at the end of the night without threatening safety because a computerized car will be driving, not the drunk adult. Tired drivers would not be a threat and in fact, many may choose to nap while their car drives them from one place to another. Autonomous driving will reinvent national transportation from the daily commute to the family road trip.
Only time and testing will determine if this new technology will reduce automobile collisions, and if so, how much, but experts believe that we are on the cusp of a safety revolution in transportation. If Nissan’s projection holds true, our roads could be substantially safer by 2020. In the meantime, automobile collisions continue to claim the lives of thousands of Americans every year. Car crashes continue to be the number one cause of accidental death among 15-20 year olds as well as a significant cause of death among all other age groups.
If you or your family member has been injured in an accident, call the Chicago car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. today. We are standing by at (312) 924-7575 to take your call and to provide you with a free, no obligation telephone consultation.
Prior Blog Entries:
DUI Driver Who Fled Scene of Fatal Crash Gets 7 Year Prison Sentence, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published August 23, 2013.
Driver Distracted By Cell Phone Charger Cord Causes Fatal Accident, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published August 20, 2013.
Nissan plans to sell self-driving cars by 2020, by Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney, published August 27, 2013.