Qatar Today - - INSIDE THE ISSUE -

Cruis­ing around The Pearl in a tomato red Fer­rari Cal­i­for­nia T, you come to the con­clu­sion that life is some­times all about lux­u­ries and not just the ne­ces­si­ties.

It's a news story that sim­ply won't go away. The au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try has been busy in­vest­ing in, and de­vel­op­ing, au­to­mated driv­ing tech­nolo­gies. This has been a con­stant head­line for the past two years and the po­ten­tial up­heaval and im­pact au­ton­o­mous driv­ing tech­nol­ogy will have when it be­comes a day-to-day re­al­ity can­not be over­stated and should not be un­der­es­ti­mated.

We are see­ing the re­sults of this ex­cit­ing new tech­nol­ogy al­ready fil­ter­ing into con­tem­po­rary pro­duc­tion ve­hi­cles, with dig­i­tal con­nec­tiv­ity, safety and driver as­sist sys­tems now trans­form­ing the way we drive, run and main­tain our cars, vans and trucks. Yet there is a com­mon mis­con­cep­tion still that fully au­ton­o­mous driv­ing is still many years away. The re­al­ity, how­ever, is that this tech­nol­ogy is be­ing de­vel­oped at an in­cred­i­ble speed by a num­ber of man­u­fac­tur­ers – and not just es­tab­lished car­mak­ers.

Why the push for au­to­mated driv­ing in the first place? There are two goals: aim­ing at zero emis­sions for a cleaner en­vi­ron­ment and zero road fa­tal­i­ties for en­hanced safety on the roads. For as long as ve­hi­cles are pro­pelled by the burn­ing of fos­sil fu­els this planet will face eco­log­i­cal prob­lems and, while hu­man be­ings are re­spon­si­ble for oper­at­ing these ve­hi­cles, mis­takes will

be made and ac­ci­dents will hap­pen. To pre­vent ei­ther sce­nario is what re­spon­si­ble man­u­fac­tur­ers are work­ing to­ward, for the ben­e­fit of all.

As ex­pected from a for­ward-think­ing in­dus­try leader, Nis­san is right at the fore­front of this in­no­va­tion and many of its cars are al­ready equipped with tech­nolo­gies that would have seemed like sci­ence fic­tion only a few years ago. Cer­tain Nis­san cars have the abil­ity to park them­selves, warn their driv­ers of po­ten­tial haz­ards, main­tain a safe dis­tance from other road users and au­to­mat­i­cally ap­ply emer­gency brak­ing – all ex­tremely prac­ti­cal and use­ful for re­mov­ing the stress from driv­ing. But the com­pany is not rest­ing on its lau­rels.

Our CEO, Car­los Ghosn, had much to say on the fu­ture of mo­bil­ity and Nis­san's in­volve­ment in it, at the 2016 Geneva In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show. He be­lieved that our In­tel­li­gent Mo­bil­ity vi­sion is a frame­work to move cus­tomers around the world to­ward a safer and more sus­tain­able fu­ture, and in or­der to re­alise this vi­sion, Nis­san had launched a long-term strat­egy, sup­ported by sig­nif­i­cant R&D in­vest­ments. He added that this en­abled Nis­san to in­tro­duce the break­through LEAF, the world's first mass-pro­duc­tion EV, in 2010 – years be­fore any of our com­peti­tors. It has also driven our de­vel­op­ment of cut­tingedge au­ton­o­mous drive tech­nolo­gies, which will be avail­able in a range of masspro­duc­tion mod­els by 2020. He fi­nally reaf­firmed that Nis­san's aim is to lead the way to­ward a new era of mo­bil­ity.

Nis­san's com­mit­ment to de­vel­op­ing in­tel­li­gent mo­bil­ity is ev­i­denced on a lo­cal level through its SmartCar ap­pli­ca­tion and on a global level with its Au­ton­o­mous Driv­ing R&D. In Bri­tain, Nis­san is al­ready man­u­fac­tur­ing "Pi­loted Drive" cars, with the award-win­ning Nis­san Qashqai cross­over be­ing ear­marked to be the first to of­fer it to cus­tomers. This is tech­nol­ogy that's nor­mally the pre­serve of ex­pen­sive lux­ury cars but Nis­san is de­ter­mined to ap­ply it to one of its most pop­u­lar – and most ac­ces­si­ble for many cus­tomers – mak­ing it read­ily avail­able to po­ten­tially mil­lions of peo­ple.

In­tel­li­gent mo­bil­ity still has fi­nal hur­dles to over­come. But the race to in­tro­duce fully au­to­mated driv­ing to our towns and cities is not far off on the hori­zon. Nis­san has de­vel­oped its own tech­nolo­gies and is in the process of re­fin­ing them, with con­crete plans to in­tro­duce ve­hi­cles equipped with au­ton­o­mous drive tech­nolo­gies in 2017. These cars will be able to ne­go­ti­ate road haz­ards and even change lanes while driv­ing and, by the year 2020, Nis­san in­tends to in­tro­duce tech­nol­ogy that will al­low cars to drive them­selves on busy in­ter­sec­tions and cross­roads, in com­plete safety for oc­cu­pants and pedes­tri­ans alike.

Nat­u­rally, safety and se­cu­rity are at the front of every­one's minds right now and for Nis­san these are vi­tal at­tributes for our fu­ture au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles.The com­pany is in­vest­ing enor­mous sums of money and re­sources to make our fu­ture cars as safe as pos­si­ble. It's all about in­tel­li­gent mo­bil­ity, after all

BY SAMIR CHERFAN Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Nis­san Mid­dle East

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