Nissan unveils concept vehicle ahead of 2020 driverless car launch - and it can communicate with pedestrians

Caitlin Morrison
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The company launched its concept vehicle today in Tokyo (Source: Nissan)

Nissan has launched an autonomous driving "concept vehicle" as part of its plans to launch its own driverless car by 2020.

The Japanese motor company is planning to roll out its autonomous car technology in stages.

The company unveiled a concept vehicle that "embodies Nissan's vision of the future of autonomous driving” - Nissan Intelligent Driving or the IDS concept - today at the Tokyo Motor Show 2015.

The car features "various exterior lights and displays convey to pedestrians and others the car's awareness of its surroundings and signals its intentions".

There is also an electronic display that can flash messages such as "After you" to pedestrians.

On the inside, the concept vehicle boasts two interiors, becoming more spacious when the driver selects piloted drive. The steering wheel will recede into the instrument panel, and a flat screen will come out. The driving operations are handled by artificial intelligence, voice and gestures from the driver.

More importantly, the interior becomes illuminated by soft light, with all four seats rotating slightly inward "facilitating easier conversation".

"It’s like relaxing in a living room," the company said.

“A key point behind the Nissan IDS Concept is communication," said Mitsunori Morita, design director.

"For autonomous drive to become reality, as a society we have to consider not only communication between car and driver but also between cars and people. The Nissan IDS Concept's design embodies Nissan's vision of autonomous drive as expressed in the phrase together, we ride."

Nissan president and chief executive Carlos Ghosn said: “Nissan’s forthcoming technologies will revolutionise the relationship between car and driver, and future mobility.”

He added that the progress is “well on track” to achieve its goal of equipping multiple vehicles across the globe with autonomous drive technology by 2020.

“Nissan Intelligent Driving improves a driver’s ability to see, think and react,” said Ghosan. “It compensates for human error, which causes more than 90 per cent of all car accidents. As a result, time spent behind the wheel is safer, cleaner, more efficient and more fun.”

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