Autonomous car: Putting the money where the mouth is

Carlos Ghosn, the chairman and CEO of Renault-Nissan Alliance, literally put his money where his mouth is when he got behind the wheel of a prototype Infiniti Q50 fitted with the latest autonomous driving tech over the streets of Sunnyvale in California’s Silicon Valley.

Carlos Ghosn

We can’t imagine being in the shoes of the engineers who put this together, not when the big boss is taking your science project out for a spin on public roads, but this is exactly what happened. We believe they kept their jobs too as the prototype Q50 navigated the city streets around Silicon Valley without incident. Note that the vehicle in question has a special California registration for autonomous operation, and Ghosn himself possesses a special state license to operate it hands-free.

The prototype Infiniti Q50 is capable of autonomous city driving.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance aims to roll out autonomous drive technology in four stages; Stage 1 – autonomous drive on single lanes – was launched in Japan back in August 2016 with the introduction of ProPilot for single-lane use on highways. It is available on the new generation Nissan Serena, with 60% of all customers taking up this option.

Stage 2 – autonomous drive for multi-lane highway driving with lane changes – is scheduled to debut in 2018, with Stage 3 autonomous city driving by 2020, and Stage 4 (driverless cars without human intervention) beyond that. The Renault-Nissan Alliance is committed to launch at least 10 models with autonomous drive functionalities by 2020.