Infiniti wants to lead the pack without a driver.
The automaker wants to launch highway self-driving technology on all of its new models. If it does, it will beat out fellow competitors as the first automaker to offer fully autonomous highway-driving production cars across most of its lineup.
Autonomous highway driving is considered the first step in the public integration of self-driving vehicles. All highway capability means the cars will be able to have self-drive above 37 mph, in other words, highway speeds.
Tesla currently leads the highway self-driving team. It already offers highway self-driving tech, but only as an update on its Model S. Other brands including Mercedes-Benz and BMW only offer semi-autonomous features under safety technologies like lane-keep and automatic braking.
Infiniti only offers the Q50 sedan with its latest steering technologies that include that ability to highway drive right now.
Infiniti President Roland Krueger says the company plans to roll out the autonomous driving technology with each new model.
“Whenever we are launching the next cars with such a steering system or the next generation of these systems, then of course we would offer those features to our customers,” Krueger says.
Krueger says the more advanced self-driving technologies needed for urban driving and other non-highway situations are more complex. He predicts these will come to mass production after more development and road regulations happen. Krueger also thinks autonomous cars will be popular with the younger crowd that makes up the brand’s main audience. Most of the Infiniti customers are in their mid-30s.
Infiniti, meanwhile, also plans to grow its sales in China. Last year, it sold 40,000 models there. BMW and Audi make those sales numbers in just one month. The growth includes supporting smart transportation tech startups in Beijing and Shanghai. Infiniti already supports a startup company in Hong Kong. It makes an app that finds open parking spaces. The combo of a parking app and self-driving tech could lead to cars finding and parking themselves.