Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has reportedly backed down from a prediction he made just six weeks ago, regarding future self-driven cars.
Speaking with industry paper Automotive News, the CEO has now suggested only semi-autonomous cars will be offered to the public between 2018 and 2020.
Between now and 2020, Mr Ghosn said Nissan aims to have a ‘traffic-jam pilot’ (fully self-driven at slow speeds) and automatic parking systems on offer by the end of 2016, to be joined by an automatic lane-changing function by the end of 2018.
Two years later – when the previous 2020 ‘deadline’ arrives – Nissan will step up its autonomous features to the point where cars can negotiate city intersections without assistance.
"Self-driving cars remain a long way from commercial reality," Mr Ghosn said.
"They are suitable only for tightly controlled road environments, at slow speeds, and face a regulatory minefield. That is why Nissan is focused on autonomous-drive technologies that we know will work, and can be introduced over the next four to five years."
Ghosn stressed the differences between his definitions of ‘self-driven’ cars and ‘autonomous drive technology’, saying that autonomous features relieve the driver of everyday tasks, but ultimately the driver is still in control.
Despite significant achievements by all in recent months, none of the three carmakers have set a definitive date for the first fully-autonomous models to go on sale.
MORE: Nissan news and reviews