Nissan has shown its Leaf Piloted Drive 1.0 Concept, the first step in the company's plan to launch an autonomous vehicle by 2020.
In concept form, the Leaf Piloted Drive 1.0 wears the bodywork of the regular electric Leaf but with modifications to accommodate the 12 cameras, four laser scanners, five radar sensors, plus ultrasonic sensors used to monitor the vehicle’s surrounds.
Inside the boot of the Leaf Pilot Drive 1.0 resides the computer hardware that deciphers the information provided by the sensors.
The autonomous Leaf is able to merge itself on and off freeways, as well as being able to overtake slower vehicles, without driver intervention.
The Leaf still carries its steering wheel and pedals, and includes a manual driving mode so that the driver can take control if they wish.
Nissan hopes to be able to roll out autonomous driving on Japanese highways before the end of 2016, until then testing continues at Nissan’s Advanced Technology Centre, located south of Tokyo.
Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn has set a target date of 2020 for the release of a fully autonomous production vehicle that will be able to self-navigate from highways through to congested city streets.
Nissan has also announced it will display a new concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show that offers a look at the company’s electric future, and may well be the second generation Leaf.
MORE: Nissan News and Reviews