With automakers already adding semi-autonomous features, like automatic brakes and self-parking, to their cars, we’re getting closer to a driverless future. Now Nissan is giving us an idea of when we might see fully-autonomous cars hit the market.
“Nissan Motor Co. pledges that we will be ready to bring multiple affordable, energy efficient, fully autonomous-driving vehicles to the market by 2020,” said Nissan’s Executive Vice President Andy Palmer, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The company went even further to say that within two vehicle lifecycles they will make the autonomous drive technology available throughout its entire portfolio.
Nissan says it will work with numerous academic institutions, including MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, Oxford and The University of Tokyo on the technology. It is also building a proving ground, that will be completed by the end of 2014, “featuring real townscapes – masonry not mock-ups” to test the technology in ways that can’t be done on public roads.
While the announcement will likely put pressure on other car companies to continue developing their autonomous car technologies, the timeframe is consistent with recent market projections for driverless cars. Navigant Research estimates that there will only be around 8,000 driverless cars sold per year by 2020, but those numbers will grow to nearly 100 million per year by 2035, or around 75 percent of light-duty car sales.