Nissan to launch autonomous car in Japan in 2016

by Ernie Hernandez on April 3, 2015

Autonomous LEAF

Ghosn confirms at NYIAS

Nissan, having agreed on a five year development partnership with NASA on the development of autonomous vehicles, has confirmed that their first market to have the vehicle will be Japan next year according to comments by Carlos Ghosn, Nissan CEO, at the New York International Auto Show.

There is a very sound reason for all manufacturers, not just Nissan, to move toward the development of self-driving cars – over ninety percent of automobile accidents are the result of human error. Taking the human element out of the equation can cause a significant reduction in injuries and fatalities due to that element. Audi has already demonstrated their own self-driving at the Hockenheim racetrack in Germany (found here – jump to the :43 minute mark of the video to watch something really wild), and in a demonstration drive from Palo Alto to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show this year.

Automakers aren’t the only companies looking at developing the technology. Google has racked up almost 700,000 miles on their self-driving cars, and they are now looking to partner with auto manufacturers.

With all of this discussion of cars that drive themselves, we recall reading stories wondering what happens when there is a failure in a system onboard a self-driving car. My thought is that just as there are already fail-safes on many of today’s vehicles (which most consumers don’t even know about), these new vehicles will also have fail-safes built in. With over ninety percent of all automobile accidents the result of human error, it seems to me the question should be how soon can we get this technology on the road?


LEAF 2.0?

by Ernie Hernandez on March 7, 2015

SWAY front three quarter 600

Did Nissan just show the second generation LEAF in Geneva?

Introduced as the Nissan SWAY at the 2015 Geneva International Motor Show as a possible European crossover, this new small hatchback could easily fit into another role. My thought is that Nissan is previewing LEAF 2.0.

SWAY front view 600

Nissan has stated three design concepts that will make their vehicles recognizable as a Nissan anywhere in the world. The first is the V-Motion grill as seen above. While the overall width of the vehicle might need to be toned down a bit from this very aggressive look for fuel efficiency reasons, the basic statement looks good.

SWAY side view 600

Nissan introduced the floating-roof design on the 2015 Murano, and it will be seen on the 2016 Maxima due this summer. The blacked-out c-pillar theme carries over nicely to this small hatchback design.

SWAY rear three quarter 600

A third design element making Nissan’s stand out from the crowd are the boomerang style head- and/or tail-lights. Here we see them incorporated into the rear design of this mini-hatch. Introduced as a European crossover, it incorporates dual exhaust which we won’t see on the LEAF.

UPDATE: Finally, there is this: “With this new concept car for Geneva, we are experimenting to see how Nissan might be able to bring fresh ideas to the compact hatchback segment,” said Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President, Design and Chief Creative Officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

So… place a charge port behind the faux grille, remove the dual exhaust, and this could be very influential on the next LEAF design.

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