One thing you don't see often in the driverless industry are partnerships. When automakers are in the news together, it usually means drama. However, an important partnership between Nissan and Mobileye was announced today. One that has the potential to make driverless cars on the road better and safer.
TechCrunch reported Tuesday that Nissan has joined Mobileye, a company that produces real-time map systems updated by active drivers on the road. Nissan will both be aiding Mobileye in creating these maps, as well as using them for the car manufacturer's self-driving vehicle program.
Nissan is the third major car automaker joining Mobileye's map program following BMW and Volkswagon. Both companies signed on with Mobileye in February 2017. Nissan will now contribute to the pool of drivers providing information for the maps, which will greatly enhance their accuracy and performance. The theory goes that the more participants there are in the program, the better the maps will work.
Although Nissan is just now joining the map program, they are no stranger to Mobileye. The two companies have partnered before on Nissan's self-driving tech program in London, where they ran a trial of Mobileye's product. In addition, Nissan has used Mobileye technology for ADAS technology in the ProPILOT vehicle, not unlike what other companies such as Mercedes are producing.
Nissan has also invested their resources into self-driving public vehicles, a move many automakers in the driverless industry are making. Nissan's focus will be on electric vehicles, partnering with Renault to produce the environmentally-conscious taxis.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn may be behind the company's push towards autonomous technology. He believes that, although public opinion may not be there yet, driverless is the future, and that people will prefer to let AI take control ... At least, for some situations.
... public perception and social acceptance is still a challenge. People are concerned about issues of reliability, security, and safety. We need to take our customers on that journey – not expect them to leap frog to fully driverless vehicles
Ghosn's attitudes echo other leaders in the driverless race. Self-driving cars will be more convenient for the public, once the public becomes accustomed to the idea. Starting slow will ease people into the technology, so by the time fully-autonomous vehicles are available, they will be accepted.
And, of course, the more driverless cars on the road, the safer we all will be.