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Will Infiniti offer a version of Autopilot for its vehicles?

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Mary Schwalm/AP/File

(Read caption) A worker cleans an Infiniti logo on the green monster outfield wall before a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park in Boston (April 18, 2016).

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Last fall, Tesla Motors made its Autopilot software available on Model S and Model X vehicles. Soon, Nissan's luxury division could offer similar, semi-autonomous driving software on a range of Infiniti models. 

That isn't as big of a stretch as it might sound. The Infiniti Q50 already offers a feature called Active Lane Control, which can handle acceleration, braking, and steering when the car hits highway speeds. According to Infiniti's president, Roland Krueger, Active Lane Control will soon be offered on other new and next-gen models as they roll out.

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Krueger made the announcement while speaking to reporters at the Global Automotive Forum in Chongqing, China. However, he also noted that improving Infiniti's autonomous driving system so that it performs in other environments and at slower speeds will require that governments update laws regarding autonomous cars. Infrastructure improvements like vehicle-to-grid communications will also determine how quickly Infiniti expands the software's functionality.

One thing that neither Infiniti nor governments can truly control, though, is how car owners use, misuse, or under-use autonomous driving technology. As we've seen, Tesla owners have been more than happy to push Autopilot beyond its intended limits, and in the video above, you'll see an Infiniti owner doing the same in a Q50 sedan. At the other end of the spectrum, many Americans are increasingly dubious about the prospect of self-driving cars.

That gives Infiniti and other manufacturers of autonomous driving systems two big problems: (1) making those systems attractive to skeptical consumers and (2) making them safe and foolproof for folks willing to take the plunge.

This article first appeared at The Car Connection.


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