Ghosn envisages the arrival of autonomous cars earlier than predicted and looks upon this as a possibility only if Government red tape does not get in the way. Besides Nissan’s upcoming Leaf and Renault’s Zoe, there are other car makers across the globe who are investing heavily in the development of autonomous cars.
Mercedes Benz is planning a new S Class autonomous prototype while Volvo’s work in the field is also not unnoticed. Apart from car manufacturers, Google is also going ahead with their own version of autonomous car, which was showcased recently. This is not like what other car makers have envisioned. Googles’s version does not have brakes or steering wheel. It is connected to your smartphone, and with help from GPS and sensors, it can transport two passengers at a time. In other cases, like that of Renault, Nissan, Mercedes or Volvo, these cars come with all the mechanics, and a human can over-ride the system if need be, unlike the case in Google’s car.
While launch of autonomous cars and technology available on board is not a constraint, it is legislation and responsibility that will go a long way in getting these cars actually on the road. It is estimated that Governments of US, Japan and France will be the first to approve such cars.
Once cleared of all these bureaucratic hurdles, there should be no delay in seeing these autonomous cars in circulation. State of California has already set some stringent rules in this regard. These include the existence of a driver in driver’s seat at all times, no sleeping or reading while at the wheel. All autonomous cars need to possess an over ride or turn off switch so that drivers can take control, etc.