Daimler plans to start selling a self-driving car by 2020 to help its Mercedes-Benz brand regain the top spot among premium carmakers, development chief Thomas Weber said.
“We want to be the first to launch autonomous functions in production vehicles. You can be sure we will accomplish that in this decade,” Weber said.
Carmakers and suppliers are working on ways to make driving safer and more comfortable through automation and the race is on to bring the technology to the mass market. Daimler is focusing on so-called highly automated driving, in which cars master situations such as cruising the highway or maneuvering through traffic jams while the driver relaxes.
The car would recognize difficult situations such as dealing with traffic lights or urban driving among pedestrians and cyclists, and hand control back to the human behind the wheel. Daimler is not alone in its ambitions.
Nissan Also Says it Will Have Fully Computerized Car by 2020
Nissan has also announced plans to launch a car completely guided by computers this decade. The technology was shown at the Frankfurt auto show, with production estimate to take 10 to 15 years.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced that the company will be ready with multiple, commercially-viable Autonomous Drive vehicles by 2020. Nissan said that the company’s engineers have been carrying out intensive research on the technology for years, alongside teams from the world’s top universities, including MIT, Stanford, Oxford, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Tokyo.
Work is already underway in Japan to build a dedicated autonomous driving proving ground, to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2014. Featuring real townscapes--masonry not mock-ups - it will be used to push vehicle testing beyond the limits possible on public roads to ensure the technology is safe. Nissan’s autonomous driving will be achieved at realistic prices for consumers. The goal is availability across the model range within two vehicle generations.
Said CEO Carlos Ghosn, “ I am committing to be ready to introduce a new ground-breaking technology, Autonomous Drive, by 2020, and we are on track to realize it.”