Nissan Eyeing Autonomous Performance Vehicles

Self-driving high-performance cars that are literally out of control as they’re speeding around a race track. Not the stuff of movies, but a potential reality, according to Nissan…

How would you feel being propelled around a race track in a high-performance Nissan and not being in control of the vehicle at any point? Unnerved is probably one of the words that pops into most people’s heads.

Nevertheless, it’s something that Nissan is apparently looking to achieve, according to the firm’s head of advanced project strategy, Richard Candler.

Speaking to Top Gear, Candler said that he’s fond of the idea of GT-R owners rocking up to race tracks, such as the infamous Nürburgring, selecting a famous lap and then have their car tear them around it as if the original lap driver was driving.

It’s an autonomous tech situation that could see self-driving high-performance cars become a reality. We’re talking about some serious tech here, not just the usual self-braking and lane changing stuff.

Purists will hate the idea of an autonomous GT-R, but it’s something that Nissan isn’t ruling out.

“The latest Nismo did 7m08s with Michael Krumm at the wheel”, said Candler. “You could just select the Michael Krumm setting, press go and before you know it, you’re launched round the track. Something that most people could never achieve suddenly becomes very accessible.”

Candler went on to describe a world where people could sit in their cars on the way to work playing a video game while their vehicle took care of the journey. So while your car is deciding how to best manoeuvre the traffic, you could be hurtling round the Nürburgring in a virtual GT-R.

“It’s adding a bit more fun to people’s lives while also adding convenience and safety,” said Candler.

Nissan recently announced that it will release 10 autonomous vehicles by 2020, which is both ambitious and intriguing.

It’s likely to all boil down to whether Nissan can make such technology accessible to the mainstream markets. If the price is too high then people won’t entertain it, but if the price is right they may just take a punt.

There’s also the fact that people buy fast cars because they enjoy driving them. An autonomous high-performance offering – even if it does come in the form of a self-driving Nissan Vision GT 2020 (pictured), may just be a bridge too far…

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