In Brief

Nissan’s driverless ‘robo-taxi’ hits the streets

Two-week test in March will allow customers to go sightseeing around Yokohama

Nissan will begin public tests of its all-electric, driverless “robo-taxi” on Japanese roads from March next year, BBC News reports.

The car giant has teamed up with Japanese firm DeNA, a gaming software company, to trial the self-driving vehicles on the streets of Yokohama over a two-week period, the news site says. 

During the trials, adds the BBC, a Nissan staff member will accompany passengers to conform with Japanese law. 

Customers of the driverless taxi service, which is being dubbed “Easy Ride”, can select either a range of “recommended destinations” or “sightseeing routes” in the Yokohama area, says the Financial Times

The taxis will be based on the current generation of Nissan’s Leaf electric car, rather than the updated model due out in 2018, and will feature a host of “cameras and sensors” to prevent collisions, the website says.

Nissan said the aim of the service “is to allow customers to use a dedicated mobile app to complete the whole process from setting destinations and summoning vehicles to paying the fare”.

The Japanese firm isn’t the only carmaker targeting public tests for its driverless cars, says Digital Trends. US car giant General Motors (GM) plans to introduce self-driving taxis on New York streets next year. 

Plus, Swedish manufacturer Volvo announced its intention to trial self-driving cars on the streets of London earlier this year, The Guardian reports. 

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