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Friday, January 22, 2016

Nissan Wants to Build a GT-R Supercar That Drives Itself


Copyright © 2016 Bold Ride LLC. 



The Nissan GT-R has long been the everyday person’s supercar, and it’s easy to see why. It sprints like a scalded cat, it’s easy to live with, and its techy all-wheel drive system can make average drivers look like Michael Schumacher on track. 
But that may change, because in the next few years this “supercar of the people” may be able to do all that, well… without people.
In a recent interview with Top Gear, Richard Candler, Nissan’s Advanced Product Strategy boss, highlighted a potential “famous laps” driving mode on future Nissan GT-Rs that could allow you to turn up to a circuit—let’s say the Nurburgring—and have your GT-R autonomously zip you around at record-matching lap time pace.

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


Imagine that harrowing ride: blasting through corners on maximum attack and passing 190 mph on the Döttinger Höhe straightaway. To the faint of heart, it may be best to leave that mode off. Candler also noted that future autonomous cars could be used like video game simulators, allowing drivers to autonomously commute to the office, all while racing on the Nurburgring (via a Playstation) from their driver’s seat.

“We’re not trying to make conveyor belts that take you from one place to another,” notes Candler. “The driver will choose when they want to take the system and when they don’t.” This no doubt helps when addressing the many reams of red tape and legislation that surround the future of self-driving cars.


For those who don’t plan to have Nissan GT-Rs but still wan’t autonomous tech, worry not. Nissan plans to give even its humblest cars some level of driving autonomy by 2020. The automaker plans to gradually increase the capability of its self-driving features each year, beginning with basic lane-keeping, acceleration, stopping, and steering as early as this year on some models.

While a technological marvel, a GT-R that can put you ‘round a track as fast as a race driver will probably play second fiddle to more commuter-focused self-driving features… but that’s not to say it won’t happen.