Nissan to Begin Testing Self-Driving Cars in London
Ahead of next-generation Leaf’s launch, Nissan will conduct autonomous vehicle tests on the streets of London.
Londoners could soon be whisked around town in cars that drive themselves if Nissan’s plan to test autonomous vehicles in the city goes ahead later this month.
Modified versions of the Nissan Leaf electric car will be used for the real-world testing, the first trial of its kind by the Japanese firm in the United Kingdom.
Anyone who has driven in London will know that it can be extremely challenging and that’s exactly why Nissan has chosen the city for its testing. Furthermore, Nissan hopes that it will glean valuable data from the London tests which can be used to tweak its autonomous offering going forward.
Nissan’s latest autonomous vehicle technology – Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM) – has been developed in collaboration with NASA and is designed to accelerate the mass market adoptability of autonomous vehicles.
Using advanced artificial intelligence and a remote system, SAM cars are linked to specially trained ‘mobility managers’ who are able to diagnose and assist the autonomous vehicles whenever they encounter a real-world situation they cannot deal with on their own.
However, the autonomous trials won’t be for everyone at the start. Government officials, technical and safety experts will be the first people to test the real-world demonstrations. There will also be backup drivers in the cars at all times in case of an emergency.
Nissan will be hoping its autonomous tests will be more successful than Uber’s in San Francisco, which saw self-driven vehicles running red lights and just missing pedestrians. As a result, Uber had its permit revoked by San Francisco regulators.
Speaking about the proposed autonomous car tests, Nissan Europe Chairman Paul Willcox said: “Innovation and ingenuity is at the heart of the Nissan brand and its people. We’ve been developing that pioneering spirit for over half a century in Europe and for over 30 years in Britain.”
A study has suggested that once a quarter or more vehicles on UK roads are driverless, congestion will begin to fall – something that people living in London will be extremely pleased about.