Sometimes bad ideas are actually great. They're just ahead of their time, or poorly executed. The 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet was all of these things. It was a two-door, all-wheel-drive, convertible SUV that couldn't go off road or carry much, got poor fuel economy, looked bizarre and felt as shaky as the business plan behind it. As the possibly apocryphal story goes, the only reason it existed was that Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn's wife wanted one.
Nissan is working toward technology to put truly driverless cars on the streets of Tokyo by 2020. The project's goal is driverless commercial vehicles that could deliver packages or transport people on short trips. Work will begin this year with DeNA, a Japanese Internet company, and initial trials will take place in designated driverless car test zones in Japan. The 2020 goal is aggressive, but Nissan probably has the Tokyo Olympics in mind. Many Japanese companies have similar projects to wow Olympic visitors and help the country put its best foot forward.
Not surprisingly, autonomy and electrification dominated transportation news at CES 2018. Toyota introduced its e-Palette concept mobility solution (which proceeded to dominate Engadget's Best of CES awards), while Silicon Valley startup Robomart unveiled plans to bring produce shopping to your front door. Automakers also announced a slew of upcoming self-driving technologies, ranging from Alexa integration and automated emergency brakes to Level 5 personal transport pods that do away with the steering wheel altogether.