Image: Easy Ride press kit
Nissan is attempting to become a market leader in driverless technology with a goal of introducing fully autonomous cars in the next five years. By 2022, the car maker hopes to have self-driving cars on the market.
Yutaka Sanada, a senior vice president at Nissan, explained that the autonomous technology would be added step-by-step. Some Nissan models already have semi-autonomous features, such as single-lane driving and auto parking. This technology will be developed to handle urban roads and intersections by 2020. Nissan have already seen some of their semi-autonomous models gaining popularity in Japan.
Nissan have some big competition in the form of Google’s Waymo and Tesla in the race to dominate the industry. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Waymo is leading the pack due to number of miles driven autonomously.
The Japanese manufacturer is also looking to use its newly developed technology to facilitate “robot taxi” rides. On Tuesday, Nissan announced that an autonomous taxi service will be tested on public roads in Yokohama, Japan next March. This is part of the Easy Ride project developed by Nissan and DeNA Co. Two Nissan Leafs, equipped with autonomous driving software, will be put on the roads with members of the public encouraged to take part in the trial. They will be able to book and manage their ride via an app on their smartphones. There will be a driver behind the wheel for the two week test but the cars are expected to drive by themselves.
In a joint statement, Nissan and DeNA said they ‘aim to combine the Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision, through technical assets in autonomous driving, vehicle electrification and connected cars, with DeNA’s experience in developing and operating driverless mobility services using its expertise in the internet and artificial intelligence’.