This CEO Is Racing to Be at the Forefront of the Auto Industry’s Future

January 19, 2018, 6:44 PM UTC

Car lovers will see a vast array of shiny new SUVs, trucks, and luxury cars at the Detroit Auto Show this week. And there will be plenty of talk about the new gadgets coming down the road.

Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance, is one of the leaders talking about a “huge transformation” coming to the auto industry. Over the next five years, he says the automobile will be transformed from a “transportation device” into a “smart, intelligent mobile space.”

He also predicts that mass market, driverless vehicles will be on the road in four to five years. And he is racing to make sure some of those vehicles will be built by his giant automotive group.

One way he plans to do that is by investing in startups in the auto technology sector. Just days before the Detroit show, he announced a venture capital fund that will invest $1 billion in new developments in electrification, artificial intelligence, connectivity, and autonomy.

“We can’t do everything,” Ghosn says, adding that he’s turning to entrepreneurs because “they bring ideas, services, pieces of technology—things that take too much time for us to do, too much money for us to do.”

At the top of Ghosn’s to-do list is launching 12 electric vehicles by 2022 and moving boldly toward creating an autonomous, self-driving vehicle.

Watch the video above for more of our conversation with Ghosn.