How soon can we expect autonomous and self-driving cars?

Carlos Ghosn, the boss of Nissan-Renault alliance, recently announced that he thinks autonomous technology will saturate the car market by 2022, according to the Australian Financial Review. If Ghosn is right, such technology will make life more mobile for people and thus massively increase drivers' satisfaction. Find out what kind of future for cars Ghosn envisions. 

Autonomous cars by 2022

In the next five years, Ghosn believes that autonomous technology, such as emergency breaking assistance in vehicles, will be widely available, according to 

"The premium market is going to be totally autonomous," Ghosn stated at a press conference in Sydney.

"This is such a huge advantage for the driver in terms of comfort, ease, the time in the car to do something else."

There are many types of autonomy, Ghosn explains. For instance, he says that autonomy on the highway is far simpler than autonomy in cities.

But these different kinds of autonomy have one thing in common: they will help humans have greater connectivity and more time for other activities while driving.

"You are going to have a massification of autonomous cars in the car business in the next five years because this is such a huge advantage for the driver in terms of comfort, ease, the time in the car to do something else," he said.

Ghosn says people will be able to do video conferences while driving, for example.

What is the difference between autonomous and self-driving cars?

Ghosn also emphasises that there is a difference between self-driving cars and autonomous cars. Autonomous cars, he says, will arrive in the near future, whereas self-driving is further away. Therefore, knowing the difference between the two different car developments is key to understanding the future of the auto-industry, NPR explains. 

Jessica Caldwell of Edmunds tells NPR that self-driving cars involve "the car literally [doing] all of the work for you. It drives for you. You don't need any driver input."

Electric technology and self-driving technology go hand in hand.Electric technology and self-driving technology go hand in hand.

On the other hand, autonomous driving is when "you're still going to have to sit in the driver's seat. You're still going to have to be aware. You're going to have the option to let the car drive for you, but you can't just check out," Caldwell says.

The future of self-driving and electric cars in Australia

Ghosn explains that it will take a while to achieve self-driving cars because it is time consuming for manufacturers to get regulators to approve of this technology.

However, Ghosn thinks that Uber and taxis will be the main impetus behind the need to push through regulation and make full-blown self-driving cars a reality.

Australia may have more problems getting self-driving and electric car technology.

Plus, Ghosn says that electric cars could also play a role because autonomous technology is closely tied to electric technology. In fact, says that there is an alliance between autonomous cars and electric cars.

However, because electric and autonomous technologies are so closely related, Australia may have more problems getting self-driving and electric cars on the road. Ghosn states that this is because Australia does not subsidise electric technology like other countries. 

For instance, the Nissan Leaf was the best-selling electric vehicle and sold 250,000 units worldwide. But, in Australia, they were projected to sell only 600 units this year. 

Until Australia starts subsidising the technology, they will lag behind in electric and self-driving technology.

At Swich Rentals, we like to stay up to date on the newest changes in car technology and are close followers of anything that makes a customer's driving experience smoother and overall more enjoyable.