The Renault-Nissan Alliance has announced that 10 vehicles with autonomous drive technology will be launched in the next four years.
The new cars are described as mainstream, mass-market and affordable and will be sold in the US, Europe, China and Japan.
In addition, Renault-Nissan said it plans to launch a suite of connectivity apps for smartphones that will make it easier for people to stay connected to work, entertainment and social networks while driving.
The first vehicles with self-driving technology will debut this year, said Carlos Ghosn, Renault CEO and chairman of the Renault-Nissan alliance. The cars will include a feature called ‘single-lane control’ that allows them to drive autonomously on highways without switching lanes.
In 2018, vehicles with ‘multiple-lane control’ will follow, meaning they can autonomously change lanes on highways and navigate heavy traffic.
By 2020, the alliance hopes to have cars that can drive through city intersections and heavy city traffic on their own.
The Alliance hopes that the autonomous driving features will help to reduce driver error, which it says is responsible for up to 90 per cent of all fatalities.
“Renault-Nissan Alliance is deeply committed to the twin goals of ‘zero emissions and zero fatalities,” Ghosn said.
In 2014, Renault-Nissan ‘converged’ both companies’ engineering organisations in order to reduce duplication in the development of next-generation technologies.
The engineers have an annual research and development budget of roughly $5bn (£3.5bn) with any technology produced then available for each company to use in its vehicles.
Nissan demonstrated its own self-driving vehicles at the tail end of last year, although many of the first drivers noted the system’s cautious driving style.