Autonomous Nissan LEAF hitting London roads next month

by Lawrence Cooper January 17, 2017, 0:07
Autonomous Nissan LEAF hitting London roads next month

The company said next month it will take selected individuals for rides in an electric Nissan Leaf vehicle around a fixed route in the capital city of the UK.

While Google has been testing its own autonomous vehicles on public roads near its Californian headquarters, Nissan claimed that its driverless cars will be the first to hit public roads in Europe-if, that is, the Japanese manufacturer receives final approval from an undisclosed local authority in the UK's capital.

The developing of autonomous driving features is part of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility, an initiative set up to transform how cars are "driven, powered and integrated into wider society", Nissan says.

It follows recent announcements that both the refreshed Qashqai and the new LEAF, both coming soon, will be equipped with autonomous drive technology to enable single lane autonomous driving on motorways.

Nissan says the technology demonstrated will be able to manage with "a diverse city environment", suggesting it will be more advanced than other self-drive systems now on the market, which are limited to motorways and other simpler, multi-lane roads.

The announcement was made to tie in with the visit of Rt Hon Greg Clark, the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to Nissan's Cranfield facility.

The tests will be Nissan's first on public roads in Europe - although it has been testing versions of both its Qashqai and Leaf models which are equipped with autonomous drive technology, which enables autonomous driving on motorways (if you're courageous enough). Current projects include the development of vehicle-to-grid technology integration, electric battery advancements and the new Nissan Qashqai, which is scheduled to launch in fiscal year '17.

Paul Willcox, Nissan Europe chairman, said: "Innovation and ingenuity is at the heart of the Nissan brand and its people". This is exactly what we deliver through Nissan Intelligent Mobility.

Seemingly in response to that decision, the United Kingdom government is throwing its support behind Nissan's autonomous driving tests, though, at this stage we're told that no taxpayer-funded cash is involved.

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