Nissan LEAFs in prototype, autonomous, form to transport VIPs on real streets, with real traffic, in the UK.
Autonomous car features
Nissan's European, real road, real traffic autonomous vehicle testing starts in London in February 2017. Modified LEAFs – all battery powered hatchbacks - will transport government officials and technical experts around the capital. However, a driver can intervene if a test car fails to react appropriately to a scenario.
Each test car will likely interpret its surroundings via radar, cameras and global positioning satellites. Radar could scan for hazards such as bikes and people whereas cameras could interpret road signs. Global positioning satellites, in contrast, confirm its location which enables sat-nav to calculate routes to destinations.
Government Minister visits Technical Centre
Nissan confirmed its plan for real road, autonomous, vehicle testing at its Technical Centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire. Its guest of honour was The Right Honourable Greg Clark, UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. He revealed:
"Government and industry are working together to build on our world class reputation for excellence as a leading location for automotive R&D, and manufacturing.”
“We want to see centres - like Nissan's in Cranfield - continue to develop (and make) us a world leader in the development and testing of auto technology so we can anchor the next generation of vehicle manufacturing and its supply chain here in the UK", Mr Clark added.
Nissan Chairman looks to the future
Paul Willcox, Chairman for Nissan Europe, added: “It was our pleasure to welcome the Secretary of State to the Nissan Technical Centre Europe in Cranfield, and to show him how we don’t just make great cars in the United Kingdom. We create future technology here, too.”
“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.”
He added: “With future models secured and cutting-edge innovation being developed right here in the UK, we’re looking forward to a strong future of designing, engineering and manufacturing in the country for customers right across the world.”
“In just a few weeks time, there will be Nissan LEAFs driving on the streets of London using our autonomous driving technology”, Mr Willcox concluded.
New Nissan LEAF and Qashqai with autonomous technology
The Nissan LEAF and Nissan Qashqai have autonomous technology in their new, forthcoming, forms - but not to the same extent as the test cars. Expect “single lane autonomous driving on motorways”, the manufacture explained. Rumours suggest that vehicles with more autonomous ability are unlikely to be launched until at least 2020.