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Renault's Carlos Ghosn on autonomy, connectivity and safety at the wheel

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By Euronews
Renault's Carlos Ghosn on autonomy, connectivity and safety at the wheel

Isabelle Kumar, euronews: “Carlos Ghosn, there’s a lot of talk here about new technology; just describe for me what it’s going to be like when I get behind the wheel in 20 years time?”

Autonomous drive will allow senior people with an impairment to continue to drive at a later stage of life.

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault-Nissan Alliance: “[As for] New technology for the car industry, I’d say that we have three main trends coming for the next years. The first [trend] is about zero emissions, obviously [there we are] talking about electric cars and fuel cells. The second [trend] is autonomous drive. That means that you are in the car—it is not a driverless car, you are in the car—and you are in [control]. You can drive whenever you want, [and] you stop driving whenever you want, in [complete safety]. The third [trend] is connectivity, which means that you can do in your car what you are capable of doing today in your office or in your house. These are the main technology trends [which] are going to transform our products.”

euronews: “And what has got you most excited?”

Ghosn:“I’m very excited because in a certain way this is going to bring more people to cars. [What I mean by that is] we know that in many countries young people are less interested in cars. Now, when the car becomes a mobile, personal, connected space, it may attract young people. Second, a lot of people, because of the impairment that comes with [advancing age], senior people stop driving not because they want to stop but because they are not able to drive. Well, autonomous drive will allow senior people with an impairment to continue to drive at a later stage of life, which means giving them the satisfaction of being mobile, and at the same time they are new customers for the industry. So, for all these reasons, this technology makes a lot of sense. On top of that we are going to make [spending] time more pleasant in the car for people who are [already] capable of driving today.”

euronews: “And what about jobs? There is concern that robots are taking people’s jobs.”

Ghosn: “Frankly, I think it is very difficult today to say what the outcome is going to be in terms of jobs. There are some things which are favourable and others which are unfavourable. I don’t buy the idea that robotisation is going to destroy jobs, because we have been automatising a lot of things, standardising a lot of things. We destroy jobs from one side while we create jobs from another side. Overall, we have had tremendous growth. But it is difficult to predict, to demonstrate. You can say what thing is going in one direction, and what other thing is going in another direction—I still think that overall it is going to favour growth of the economy, even though for our own industry it is very difficult to say five or ten years down the road what the outcome is going to be.”

euronews: “Finally, just one question on the emission scandal… We know that 15,000 cars have been recalled in France; how concerned are you that this could blow up into a bigger scandal?”

Ghosn: “Look, there is so much confusion on the emission story; allow me to come back to some of the fundamentals so we don’t confuse the public. The first question about emissions is: ‘is there anybody cheating’? Is there any device allowing a carmaker not to show its real performance? In the case of Renault the answer is ‘no’. It is not only Renault saying no, it is the French government saying there is no cheating device. So we cannot put all the companies in the same bag. The second [question] is [whether] cars respond to the norms. The norms are established, they are official , these are norms according to which cars are homologated [approved]. All the cars of Renault are homologated, all the cars respond to the norms. Now, the debate is where there are no norms; it is ‘what is the performance outside the norms?’ Because where there are no norms it is very difficult to say what is wrong and what is right. That is why we are asking, with the European Community: ‘please establish norms where you think it matters for the consumer’, so we can all say we are within the norms or outside the norms. That is the situation.”