Infiniti is optimistic about launching driverless cars in Hong Kong in the next four years if local regulations allow, the company has revealed in a press note.
Infiniti is Nissan’s premium car brand and the company’s top management is hopeful that driverless technology will be present in Infiniti’s kitty to be used in one of the models that could be launched in Hong Kong in 2020. This is the second big announcement from Infiniti with regards to automotive technology, which also recently unveiled a first-of-its-kind variable compression ratio engine at the Paris Motor Show 2016.
Infiniti has been working towards achieving a driverless car technology for quite sometime now and it has already incorporated basic features in its cars that allow its current models to stay within lanes and speed up or slow down with the car in front on motorways.
Dane Fisher, general manager for business transformation and brand at Infiniti Global, said, said that they have technically achieved single lane autonomous capabilities and within the next two years they will achieve the abilities to have an autonomous vehicle change lanes and in the next four years, their autonomous cars will have the capability to drive in inner-cities as well. While all these feature are planned and will be developed as per the overall plan, chances are that the technology could be modified according to local rules and regulations.
Under Infiniti’s start-up accelerator programme, a start-up named Pilot is working on building a technology to retrofit existing cars with autonomous driving features, such as emergency forward braking and auto steering to stay in lane.
Another US-based start-up, Kraftwerk, from Infiniti’s start-up accelerator programme, is developing fuel cells that use liquid natural gas to generate electricity. This new fuel cells to power electric cars will increase the range to 2,000 miles i.e. over 3200 km and weigh less than the existing batteries built for electric cars. As the cells rely on liquid natural gas, the car can be refuelled at existing petrol stations.
All that said, Hong Kong is still a bit sceptical about driverless cars and autonomous technology, which is clearly indicated by the fact that even autonomous features in Tesla cars like – auto steer and auto lane change, are limited to certain areas in the city. In fact, the Hong Kong’s Transport Department was considering suspending carmaker Tesla’s autonomous features but reserved its decision early this year.