The Nissan Qashqai will be able to travel autonomously on the single lane of a highway, including when driving in traffic, from 2017.
Renault-Nissan has already confirmed plans to launch more than 10 autonomous vehicles before 2020, and 'Piloted Drive 1.0' is the first self-driving technology the firm will roll out in a production car.
Autonomous technology will be “installed on mainstream, mass-market cars at affordable prices”, Renault-Nissan has said, and in 2018, a ‘multi-lane control’ system will allow the car to automatically change lanes and avoid hazards when driving autonomously on the highway. Two years after that its ‘intersection autonomy’ function will arrive, which will allow a car to navigate junctions and heavy traffic in urban areas.
The Piloted Drive-equipped Qashqai will go on sale in Japain this year, and the technology will also be showcased in Europe with a demonstration. All of the technology will be at the option of the driver, who can take back control at any time.
The Qashqai, which has been seen with a new trim level in concept form at the Geneva motor show, is the first car to get self-driving tech, but the next-generation Nissan Leaf would be a prime candidate to also get it given the recent IDS Concept at the Tokyo show that previewed the next Leaf featuring autonomous technology.
Paul Willcox, chairman of Nissan Europe, said: "The introduction of Piloted Drive technologies will be an evolution not a revolution as the building blocks for this are already in place in many of our cars today through our Safety Shielf Technology."
Renault-Nissan has also said it will launch a “suite of new connectivity applications that will make it easier for people to stay connected to work, entertainment and social networks”.
Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn said: “Renault-Nissan Alliance is deeply committed to the twin goals of zero emissions and zero fatalities. That’s why we are developing autonomous driving and connectivity for mass-market, mainstream vehicles on three continents.”