Nissan could offer affordable self-driving cars by 2020, challenge Google

Nissan Leaf
You could Leaf is up to the car to drive

There are more companies than Google looking to become your personal chauffeur with self-driving cars, and Nissan is one that's reportedly starting to rev its autonomous engine.

The Japanese automaker plans to offer self-driving cars within the next seven years, according to what one senior Nissan executive said to the Wall Street Journal.

"Nissan Motor Co. pledges that we will be ready to bring multiple affordable, energy efficient, fully autonomous-driving vehicles to the market by 2020," said Executive Vice President Andy Palmer said during a presentation in Southern California.

By 2014, the company plans to build a proving ground to test autonomous vehicle systems, according to Palmer.

Nissan vs Google self-driving car

Google's driverless car development has been self-driving the news over the last three years, from capturing headlines about its autonomous road trip between Mountain View and Santa Monica Calif., to the report that the company is working on robo-taxis.

But individual car manufacturers are looking to get into the autonomous vehicle business, too. In addition to Nissan, car makers like Volvo, Ford, Toyota, GM and Volkswagen are also said to be in the garage with their own self-driving car projects.

Volvo even took us on a test drive to demo its latest cutting edge self-driving car tech it plans to roll out in the next year. It already has a nifty cyclist detection system with full auto-brake.

With Google on its own - much like it has been with Google TV - it seems to be in a race with manufacturers like Nissan and may be preparing to announce a partnership with German car parts maker Continental AG and IBM.

The self-driving car competition is on, though the race may take 10 years to finish.

Matt Swider