Nissan Wants an Autonomous GT-R Driving the Nürburgring

And you riding along.

byJonathon Ramsey|
Nissan News photo


The road to Gundam begins with Godzilla. Nissan showed off its IDS Concept at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, a teaser for the next-generation Leaf and efforts to put multiple autonomous models on the roads by 2020. But the Japanese brand has no intention of relegating self-driving cars to electric avenue. Two Nissan executives who spoke to Top Gear say they envision an autonomous GT-R, and not just one that hucks itself around town: Richard Candler, who leads the company’s Advanced Product Strategy, said he’d like a the next-gen supercar to rock itself around the Nürburgring.

In Candler’s world, the owner choose from a menu of lap times, then enjoy the ride as a GT-R roars through Green Hell. Which is the same thing Gran Turismo players do at home, just with a more interesting (and expensive) version of the Force Feedback Wheel.

On the matter of consoles, Candler says he could see being able to use the GT-R as “the controller to drive round the Nürburgring on your PlayStation. “

“It’s adding a bit more fun to people’s lives while also adding convenience and safety,” he added.

Fine. But the Nürburgring has a checkered history with roller coasters and, frankly, the idea of a fleet of autonomous supercars on the world’s most hallowed racetrack isn’t appealing. We’ve been in Audi’s self-piloted RS7, which turns laps the name of safety, furthering the development of software and hardware that can negotiate extreme situations at speeds. Likewise for Nissan, tech developed for an autonomous GT-R might one day help a Leaf or Altima better deal with a tricky situation. But turning a sports car into a racing-line robot defeats the purpose. Go ahead, ask how we know.

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