Transportation & Mobility, VERGE

Nissan: In some cases, autonomous cars are safer than human drivers

Chauffeurs beware: Technology is creeping in on your business. At least, it will be if Nissan gets its way. The Japanese automaker is reseaching technology for self-driving cars and it's using Silicon Valley as its home base.

In this Studio C interview with GreenBiz's Joel Makower at VERGE 2014 in San Francisco,  Nissan's senior manager of strategy and operations Greg Dibb said the technology is coming soon. Very soon.

Dibb said that Nissan would start deploying highway autonomous driving first, with city driving coming later. He said that the first models with autonomous features may come out as soon as 2018.

Dibb also said that the technology won't let you kick back and read your favorite book or take a nap. The technology you're likely to see first will be safety-oriented "super driver" features that Nissan calls the Advanced Driver Assistance System, or ADAS. ADAS lets the car augment the driver's perception and correct for mistakes. "The car is, in some ways, better at doing certain parts of driving than you are," he said.

Dibb said that a future car could prevent you from making a lane change when a car is next to you. "When you go to change lanes, it sees the car's there, and stops you from changing lanes," he said. "It really protects you."