The third biggest Japanese automaker has announced Wednesday it would deliver a model equipped with automated highway driving features about 2020, entering the quick race to deliver autonomous vehicles to the market.
The race has pitted the traditional automakers against leading technology corporations, such as Google and possibly the most valuable company in the world – Apple. Both its largest Japanese competitors – Toyota and Nissan – have also envisioned 2020 as the year for driverless cars to hit the market. The date is significant for the Japanese carmakers because they would have a massive marketing jolt thanks to the Tokyo Olympics taking place that same year. So far no details about the model’s planned features, functions or capabilities have been given by Japan’s No. 3 automaker – with all national carmakers preparing to make a solid appearance at home during next week’s Tokyo Motor Show, well known for its appetite to showcase the latest automotive innovations.
Traditional carmakers have started to worry of the disruptions caused by technology giants such as Google as vehicles become more and more computers on wheels and writing software is just as crucial to developing a tuned and fuel efficient engine. For example Google has already taken to the streets for years its driverless prototypes and has developed its own design for an autonomous model, while reports are putting Apple en route to developing an electric car that should also come to the market with self-driving technology.