Nissan Will Offer Driverless Cars by 2020

Autonomous Nissan Leaf

Making a huge splash in the transportation industry, Nissan has just announced they will offer multiple driverless cars by 2020. The Japanese auto-maker has jumped into the race for “autonomous vehicles” by showing off a driverless prototype of the Nissan Leaf on a military base in Irvine, CA.

“In 2007 I pledged that – by 2010 – Nissan would mass market a zero-emission vehicle. Today, the Nissan LEAF is the best-selling electric vehicle in history. Now I am committing to be ready to introduce a new ground-breaking technology, Autonomous Drive, by 2020, and we are on track to realize it.” – Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn

Oxford/Nissan Driverless Car

Google has long been the name associated with driverless car technology, but according to the press release, Nissan has been working on this innovative transportation technology for years alongside top universities MIT, Stanford, and Oxford.

The vehicles operate differently than the cars developed by Google, in that they utilize laser scanners and artificial intelligence, but do not require internet access.

Both companies however, have similar reasons for developing the technology as it aims at eliminating crashes, reducing carbon emissions, and even offering more mobility and freedom to the elderly.

“Six million crashes in the US per year cost $160 billion and rank as the top reason of death for four- to 34-year olds. And, 93% of accidents in the US are due to human error, typically due to inattention.” – Nissan press release

I love this project for the good that it can do for humanity in many different ways, and I hope that others follow suit and pursue humanity friendly business projects.

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Solar Powered Airplane Flies Flies Across the Country

solar-impulse

Fueled only by the power of the sun, Solar Impulse has just recently finished it’s first cross-country flight. This flight had many stops, and was very slow-going (about two months total), but also set three world records for manned solar-powered flight in the process, including the highest flight (30,300 ft), the longest flight (26 hours), and the farthest flight (693 miles).

There are those who see this and immediately blast it for not being applicable for real-life scenarios due to lacking power, speed, and durability. The thing to keep in mind is that this flight is symbolic of the future potential of solar-powered flight in the same way the the first Wright-brothers flight was symbolic of the future of manned airplane flights.

“Our airplane is not designed to carry passengers, but to carry a message.”  Bertrand Piccard

I believe the message that is send is one of possibility, one that states the future is here and let’s embrace it.

The plane is powered by solar cells that are not necessarily the most efficient, however, they have the best efficiency to weight ratio which is important to getting the most distance from each kWH of energy. The long-term goal is to eventually be capable of perpetual flight without the need of fuel. A worthy goal, but not one that will be attained before the plane’s next adventure to traverse the globe in 2015.

The application of this type of transport in the future is unknown exactly… With high speed rail, hyperloop, and other technologies coming forward, who knows what the future of transportation will be?

 

 

5 Futuristic Concepts That Will Change Your Life

1. Flying cars and the future of transportation

Multiple panels focused on the future of transportation. One of the most memorable was on the policy, infrastructure, and social hurdles we as a country and society will have to leap to make driver-less cars — and maybe even one day flying cars — a real possibility.

Google Self-Driving Car

 

Check out this aricle to see some other cool stuff coming our way. Self-driving cars are only the beginning… What are you most looking forward to in the future?

 

5 futuristic concepts from the Aspen Ideas Festival that might change your life – The Week.