Nissan is to tailor its autonomous technology to the cultural norms in each country.
Driving styles vary greatly from one country to another, and even between cities and different times of the day.
In order for driverless cars to drive safely, efficiently and predictably in different areas, they will need to change the way they drive to match cars around them. Nissan will achieve this using the help of sociologists and anthropologists to study traffic patterns, pedestrian movements and the activities of other road users.
Director of Nissan’s Research Centre in Silicon Valley Maarten Sierhuis said: ‘The way people drive in Sao Paolo differs from the way people drive in Silicon Valley, California. What is socially acceptable in Sao Paolo is not socially acceptable in Silicon Valley. Autonomous cars will need to take this into account.’
Conversely, if a driverless car is programmed for the most cautious driving culture, in another more aggressive driving culture, it may never consider it safe to move an inch.
This is a sensible development in driverless technology that will help it avoid driving quirks that could give it a bad name, hindering its adoption. Much like how cars have been programmed for the different languages of the world, the same flexibility will be needed for driving styles.
Autonomous technologies are discussed further in the Autovista Intelligence report, The Autonomous Car.
Meanwhile, in the US in Las Vegas, Audi A4 and Q7 models are now able to display traffic light phases directly in the car – allowing drivers to use a smoother, more efficient driving style, by knowing in advance when a traffic light will change. European pilot projects have already taken place in Berlin, Ingolstadt, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Veronathere, and Audi is working on bringing the technology to Europe in the near future.
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