Nissan has made no bones about its plans for autonomous cars, boldly stating its intent to bring several self-driving vehicles to market by 2020 and recently testing a prototype on the streets of Tokyo. Now the Japanese automaker has announced it will be kicking off public field tests of a newly unveiled robo-vehicle taxi service in 2018.
Announced this week, the Easy Ride mobility service was jointly developed by Nissan and DeNA, a Japanese company that builds mobile and e-commerce websites. The partnership aims to dovetail DeNA’s AI and internet experience with Nissan’s technical expertise in autonomous driving technologies.
Similar to ride-sharing services like Volkswagen’s Moia, most of the user experience will be handled by a smartphone app. This includes summoning vehicles, entering destinations and paying the fare. Easy Rider passengers will also be able to check out recommended destinations and sightseeing routes, and be able to select from multiple languages.
Nissan says the service is meant to supplement existing transportation options, and it carried out technical field testing earlier in the year. It will now move onto public field tests to be held in the Minatomirai district of Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, between March 5 and 8 next year, for which is is recruiting participants up until January 15. You can see the vehicle in action in the video below.
Dr. Hans C. Mumm