Nissan has addressed concerns about autonomous vehicles at its forum exploring the future for driving and drivers. The event, held in Washington, D.C., gave lawmakers, regulators and other U.S. government officials a close look at how Nissan is managing the development of automated drive technologies.
Andy Christensen, senior manager at Nissan Technical Center North America in Michigan, explained that the Nissan approach is not to remove the driver from the driving experience. Instead, Nissan wants to enhance the driver’s experience by introducing technologies that make cars more intelligent and more exciting partners.
Christensen said of this philosophy that:
“Someday, when drivers want, the technology will be available to do the driving task for them. But at Nissan, we see the driver remaining engaged and integral well into the future.”
Traditionally, how to drive the car “was always left up to the human driver, but Christensen acknowledges that this is changing, adding that:
“Working in the area of driving automation is a completely new challenge since we are now trying to develop sensors and systems that can understand and adapt as well as human drivers. With continued advances in sensor and processing technology, more of the driving task will eventually be able to transfer from the driver to the system and ultimately allow the driver to do something other than drive the vehicle.
Maarten Sierhuis, director, Nissan Research Center Silicon Valley, and Tracy Woodard, director, Government Affairs, Nissan North America, joined Christensen in sharing Nissan’s perspective on the future of autonomous vehicles. Woodard said hosting the event was important to “showcasing the Nissan approach to autonomous vehicles and leadership in how we are going about thoughtful rollout of these technologies.”
Among those attending Nissan’s informational event were members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Tennessee Department of Transportation.