NASHVILLE -- Nissan Motor Co. envisions an auto industry future that includes self-guided tourist vans, small vehicles that can be driven through crowded pedestrian malls and cars styled by fashion designers or home do-it-yourselfers.
Company planners are looking beyond the real-world products of the next four to eight years to imagine what consumers will want in future decades, says Rachel Nguyen, Nissan's director of global upstream planning.
Nissan calls one of its futuristic concepts the We Lounge. It is a combination minivan, airport shuttle, rental car and taxi. A family or group of conventioneers might rent the self-driving vehicle for a day to tour a city, sightseeing from living room-style seating in the back while disregarding the traffic.
Another concept is what Nissan calls the Pedestrian on Wheels. It is envisioned as a small, zero-emission electric personal mobility vehicle for use in urban areas where cars have been banned. Some cities -- Florence, Italy, for example -- have curbed car use. A number of planned cities in Asia and the Middle East have been proposed where automobiles would be banned.
Nissan's concept is designed to enable one or two occupants to move through a pedestrian city, perhaps carrying a set of luggage or the week's groceries, without endangering other pedestrians.