Nissan wants you to know that it isn't ignoring the self-driving car trend - especially with companies like Google beginning to test autonomous vehicle prototypes and Tesla rolling out autopilot functionality to its sedans.
The carmaker first announced in 2013 that it planned to have a fleet of self-driving, autonomous cars commercially ready by 2020, emphasising that it had been working for years to bring autonomous driving cars to the masses, with global teams of engineers carrying out research and building technology. And now the company has reaffirmed that target year.
Nissan Europe's Vice President of Communications tweeted on Tuesday that Nissan expects to have advanced autonomous cars on the road by 2020. His tweet included what appears to be a blueprint or a concept for an autonomous vehicle from Nissan, which was presumably shown off during some sort of company presentation.
The blueprint seems to show how Nissan's self-driving system works. We can see that - much like's Tesla's $2,500 add-on hardware package that enables autopilot functionality in its cars - Nissan's autonomous system will feature a front camera mounted on top of the car as well as an "around view monitor" camera setup throughout the vehicle.
This AVM setup processes video from four cameras, displaying composite footage on a screen, as if there is a single birds-eye view camera right above the vehicle, thus providing a virtual 360-degree scene of the car, according to Nissan. The image also shows radar and laser scanner sensors located in the front bumper and near the wheels.
Keep in mind Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's CEO, said in May that Nissan found many younger drivers want autonomous features, internet connectivity and zero emissions to all be a part of the automobile of the future. But he said Nissan's autonomous tech won't be like Google's self-driving car. It has instead envisioned a car that assists with driving.
He said Nissan's autonomous system will provide a 360-degree view around the vehicle to help reduce accidents. Tesla's autopilot system has the same goal; it isn't fully autonomous. It's more similar to systems that aircraft pilots use to increase safety when conditions are clear, as it provides a way to relieve drivers during different aspects of road travel.
It's unclear if the system shown off today by Nissan is the same system used in its self-driving cars being made in conjunction with NASA. That project, which is part of a five-year deal and considered an "R&D effort", involves robotics engineers from NASA’s Ames Research Center developing autonomous cars based on the electric Nissan Leaf.
We've contacted Nissan for information about the autonomous vehicle blueprint/concept it showed off and hope to update soon.