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Nissan hones in on autonomous driving and hybrid technology

By Kellie Buckley, 28 Jun 2016 News

Nissan hones in on autonomous driving and hybrid technology

Self-driving cars and hybrid efficiency bolsters Nissan’s plans of becoming technology powerhouse

New technologies in autonomous driving and hybrid efficiency will be rolled out by Japanese car maker Nissan in a bid to achieve CEO Carlos Ghosn’s ambitious goal of becoming the market leader in both areas. 

Discussed at last week’s annual shareholders meeting, Ghosn confirmed Nissan’s e-Power hybrid technology and the firm’s ProPilot autonomous driving technology will both appear in Nissan’s domestic-market production models by as early as the first quarter of next year. 

The e-Power hybrid technology — which debuted on last year’s Gripz Concept — uses an electric motor to power the car while reserving the smaller internal combustion engine purely for battery charging duties when required. 

According to Nissan, the range-extending petrol engine has both cost and weight advantages over more traditional hybrid technologies, saying the batteries can be smaller while the generator-style petrol engine will be tuned for consistent and peak efficiency. 

Nissan is also hard at work on its autonomous driving technology, which will culminate in 2020 with up to 10 production models featuring sophisticated self-driving capabilities. 

Working around a three-step roll-out strategy, Nissan says its ProPilot technology is at a point where it can stop, start and steer effectively on single-lane roads. By 2018 it expects the technology to be proficient on multi-lane roadways and has a goal of ProPilot being able to negotiate multi-lane intersections by 2020. 

“By 2020 you’ll find multiple models with ProPilot in major mass production in the US, Japan China, and Europe,” the firm said.