When you’ve got the attention of Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, as Engadget recently did, you don’t take his words lightly. Nearly all auto manufacturers are hard at work on autonomous vehicles – now competing with tech juggernauts such as Google, Uber, and Amazon – and he took a moment to address the company’s progress in that area.
His claim was bold:
by 2020 we’ll have fully autonomous driving cars. Highways, cities, traffic- all of it.
Here is my own transcription of his exact words:
“To move from a prototype to a mass-marketing, it takes some time. Because you need to test the reliability, you need to work on the cost, you need to work on a lot of things before you can move from the prototype to the mass market.
In my opinion, this is a transition of 3 to 4 years, for a totally autonomous drive. Not an autonomous drive on the highway, or one lane: this is easy, we can do it now. But autonomous drive in all conditions – highway, downtown, cities, etcetera: this is 4 years. This is 4 years, in my opinion, down the road.”
Mr. Ghosn did clearly mention that while the technology is 3 to 4 years from rock solid, regulation will also need to adapt and evolve. He sounded confident this 4 year timeline could be matched, but if you’ve ever sat in line at the MVA, you wouldn’t be surprised if we’re still steering our own selves around like the humanoid idiots we are in the year 2050.
You can watch the video yourself over at Engadget (jump to 3:20 for the passage quoted above).