Nissan's self-driving EV gives you restaurant recommendations too

Nissan IDS

It's not another Leaf, but Nissan's treating its IDS concept vehicle as an equally huge a step for automobiles. Packing a 30kWh battery with enough (EPA-rated) power for a drive up to 107 miles, it's the first (admittedly concept) car to show up with the carmaker's Intelligent Driving System. Notable parts of Nissan's autonomous driving plans include special driving modes for traffic jams (where it'll keep pace with the vehicle ahead of it while also keeping itself in the right lane), as well as restaurant recommendations based on previous trips. Ridiculously, or brilliantly, in piloted mode the IDS flips its steering wheel away to offer up a tablet for the driver. At the same time, all the seats curve ever-so slightly inwards to aid conversation. Or make it harder to ignore your fellow passengers.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn explained that Nissan is aiming towards a zero emission, zero accident future, where autonomous driving helps reduce traffic accidents -- of which 90 percent are due to driver error. It helps that this particular car comes with a luxurious-looking interior and giant dashboard displays to boot. As is the case with nearly all prototypes, concepts and distant product launches in Japan, the company is planning to launch a car that approaches this concept by 2020 — when the Olympics return to Tokyo. Nissan's first stage of self-driving cars, however, are set to arrive much closer: next year.