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Nissan vows self-driving cars by 2020

Nissan said Tuesday that it will have multiple “commercially viable” self-driving vehicles ready by 2020. It becomes the first major automaker to make such a pledge.

It says it is working with major universities and building a test track in Japan. And in Irvine, Calif., it is showing off a specially outfitted electric Leaf that can drive itself.

Other automakers have also indicated they are working on the same technology. Audi and Toyota, for instance, showed cars with self-driving features at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year. They could be next to set a date for marketing the technology. But the biggest competitor in the space may not be a car company: Google pioneered testing of self-driving cars in Nevada in the past couple of years.

Nissan says its autonomous driving will be achieved at “realistic prices” for consumers and it should come within reach within two vehicle generations. Nissan’s luxury division, Infiniti, already has technology on the new Q50 sedan that allows it to maintain driving in its lane on freeways. With the adaptive cruise control initiated, a driver can take their hands off the wheel.
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