Nissan-Renault plans

self-drive cars

Nissan IDS concept car
Carlos Ghosn, Nissan-Renault chief executive

CARS which can manoeuvre automatically through traffic are being developed by Nissan and Renault and will be on the road within two years.

The two brands, which operate together under a strategic alliance, have revealed plans to release 10 new models with autonomous drive technology by 2020.

Speaking at the Renault-Nissan Research Centre in California, chief executive Carlos Ghosn said the high tech equipment would be fitted to mainstream vehicles ‘at an affordable price' and sold across all major markets including Europe, the United States, China and Japan.

Some of the technology was seen at the Tokyo Motor Show last year where Nissan revealed its IDS concept car which is viewed as a forerunner of the next generation zero emission all-electric Leaf.

Within months cars with what Nissan-Renault is calling single-lane control - a feature that allows cars to drive autonomously on highways, including in heavy, stop-and-go traffic - will be available.

In 2018 it will launch vehicles with "multiple-lane control" which can autonomously negotiate hazards and change lanes during highway driving and 2020 will see the launch of "intersection autonomy" which can navigate junctions and heavy urban traffic without driver intervention.

Autonomous drive systems are expected to help further reduce driver error which is responsible for up to 90 per cent of all road fatalities.

The company is also working on new in-car connectivity systems which include apps for mobile devices which allow remote interaction with the car.

"Renault-Nissan Alliance is deeply committed to the twin goals of ‘zero emissions and zero fatalities'," said Mr Ghosn. "That's why we are developing autonomous driving and connectivity for mass-market, mainstream vehicles on three continents."

The alliance is the world's top seller of zero emission cars and has sold nearly 300,000 all-electric vehicles since the first Leaf was sold in the San Francisco Bay Area in December 2010.

The Leaf, which is built in the UK at Nissan's Sunderland factory, now has an extended range of more than 150 miles and is priced from £24,490.

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