Nissan sets wheels in motion for autonomous drive testing

Nissan has taken a massive step in its autonomous drive project after conducting its first test in a public environment.

Representatives from Nissan recently took to the roads in a Nissan LEAF vehicle decked out with the firm's autonomous drive technology, taking it for a spin on the Sagami Expressway in the Kanagawa prefecture. The prefecture's governor, Yuji Kuroiwa, joined Nissan Vice Chairman Toshiyuki Shiga for the ride.

The LEAF passed the test with flying colours, seamlessly navigating the highway while completing a series of manoeuvres. These included lane keeping and changing, distance control, overtaking and highway merging and exit. All tasks were performed autonomously, requiring no intervention from the passengers.

Mr Shiga explained that the results proved Nissan was well placed as a pioneer of road safety.

"Nissan seeks a safer, more comfortable and environmentally-friendly mobile future," he said in a November 25 media release.

"Through these tests on an expressway, we hope to further advance our technological development, with the goal of soon implementing Autonomous Drive vehicles. When starting a new project, serious effort is required to gain an understanding of all the variables involved."

He added that being able to test the technology in real-life conditions on the Sagami Expressway was vital to its development.

With other car manufacturers surely set to follow suit and work on autonomous driving R&D, these advancements will be welcome news for any fleet manager interested in the latest automobile technology.

Autonomous driving cars can bring a wealth of benefits to fleets and drivers, most importantly in the form of enhanced road safety. Nissan's first test on a public road is further indication that it won't be long before this technology becomes a reality.