Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn Tests Autonomous Drive at CEATEC

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YOKOHAMA, Japan – Ahead of demonstrations to the public at CEATEC JAPAN 2013, CEO Carlos Ghosn has experienced the latest developments in Nissan's breakthrough Autonomous Drive technology.

Mr. Ghosn visited the exhibition – Japan's largest for IT and electronics – at the Mahukari Messe convention center outside Tokyo to ride in a Nissan LEAF equipped with the system. CEATEC runs from October 1-5 where members of the public will be able to see Nissan's Autonomous Drive vehicles in action for the first time.

The advanced state of Nissan's Autonomous Drive was first announced at Nissan 360 in Irvine, California, in August. During the reveal, Nissan committed to having multiple commercially viable Autonomous Drive vehicles ready by 2020 and to deploy the technology across the model range within two car generations.

After riding in the Nissan LEAF at CEATEC, Mr. Ghosn said Nissan's research and development had progressed rapidly since he tested an early prototype behind closed doors two years ago.

"The public sense that this is something of the future – something that they need and that they will use," said Ghosn. "Now, the pressure is on us since we have launched this wave of attention about the technology."

"It's a fascinating experience, and I think we have the talent and the engineering – and the passion also – to bring back the Nissan of technology through something meaningful. And this is meaningful."

After not quite taking the wheel, CEO Ghosn spoke to the Global Media Center, reaffirming plans to introduce self-driving cars by 2020.

Global Media Center: What's it like to "drive" an autonomous car?

CEO Carlos Ghosn: In fact, I didn't drive anything. I was just sitting in the car. This test is proving to me that, first, we have advanced a lot because I tested the prototypes two years ago, which were way less advanced than this one.

We're going to get there even sooner than we think. What's going to be left is only the reliability of the system.

I'm amazed at how smooth and how simple it looks even though there is a lot of technology behind the car. I'm very encouraged.

Global Media Center: If the goal is 2020, how far does this prototype take Nissan towards autonomous driving cars on the road?

CEO Ghosn: 2020, in my opinion, is going to be the latest because we are under pressure from a lot of competition. 

Obviously, we've seen the reaction from the public. There is a lot of attention and thirst from everybody about the automated car.

The public sense that this is something of the future – something that they need and that they will use. Now, the pressure is on us since we have launched this wave of attention about the technology. The pressure is on us to make sure that we are bringing the first cars on the market.

About Nissan Motor Co.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with approximately 236,000 employees globally, Nissan sold more than 4.9 million vehicles and generated revenue of 9.6 trillion yen (USD 116.16 billion) in fiscal 2012. Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of over 60 models under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. In 2010, Nissan introduced the Nissan LEAF, and continues to lead in zero-emission mobility. The LEAF, the first mass-market, pure-electric vehicle launched globally, is now the best-selling EV in history.

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Issued by Nissan