When Nissan suggested back in 2007 that they would have a workable electric vehicle on the road by 2010, many people stood back, sniggered, and turned away. The company stepped forward with the award-winning Nissan Leaf and with regards to the electric vehicle industry, as they say, the rest is history. The company has become a prominent player in the electric vehicle market and while the Nissan Leaf continues to grab the headlines, this is just one of a portfolio of electric vehicles now on offer. So what does Nissan have in mind for the future?
Self driving cars
The subject of self driving cars is not a new one, it is something which Google has mentioned time and time again, it has been discussed by experts and while perfectly plausible, it could be the most difficult and challenging step yet for the automobile industry. The technology for self driving vehicles is already there, the electric vehicles of today offer greater efficiencies than never before but would you trust a self driving car?
Nissan has today suggested it will have a self driving car on the road by 2020 and when you bear in mind this would require an array of sensors and improved technology, this will be no mean feat. So, is the challenge facing the self driving car the same as that which faced the electric vehicle industry over the last 100 years?
Fine in principle but what about in practice?
We can look back 20 years, 50 years, or possibly even 100 years to see the idea of self driving vehicles has always been there or thereabouts. Many prominent inventors have looked to the future and considered self driving vehicles but until today the idea of a mass-market in this particular mode of transport has never really taken off. So what is different this time round?
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "When do you expect to see full EV market penetration?"
If we take the electric vehicle industry as a perfect example of how a new mode of transport can take a significant amount of time to gather the trust of motorists, this just about reflects the challenges ahead for self driving vehicles. We're not talking about vehicles which will shoot you from A to B at the speed of light but we are talking of vehicles which would effectively allow you to transfer control to a computer which would be guided by an array of instructions and sensors. Would you feel safe?
The idea of sitting back, putting your feet up and reading the newspaper as you "drive" to work does sound appealing, can you imagine relaxing on your way home after a hard day at the office?
Is the timing right?
Some people will suggest, despite the fact that Google is currently using an array of on-site self driving vehicles for its staff, that this particular mode of transport will never be successful. However, if you sit back and take a look at how the electric vehicle industry has tried and tried again to crack the mass-market, moving ever closer, perhaps motorists have a newfound appetite for groundbreaking modes of transport?
It will be many decades before self driving vehicles become the norm, they may or may not take off in the longer term but it does look as though inventors, automobile manufacturers and entrepreneurs are set to pick up the baton of this long-running race.