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Nissan to begin testing driverless cars in Japan this year

Las Vegas: Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn confirmed that a next generation of the Nissan Leaf electric car will be coming very soon and will include Propilot, the company’s latest autonomous drive technology solution.

During his keynote speech at CES, he said a partnership with Japanese internet firm DeNa to begin trialing autonomous driving in Japan this year, before committing to rolling out the technology commercially in 2020 in areas of Tokyo. The deal also includes trials and developments in ride-hailing.

The tests will be conducted using electric vehicles provided by Nissan and coincide with similar testing already underway in Europe, the US and China.

Ghosn has big plans for an electrified and automated future in partnership with Microsoft to deliver voice assistance and artificial intelligence via Cortana to its vehicles. The Renault-Nissan alliance signed an agreement in September with Microsoft to work on car technology.

Volvo and BMW have agreed to use parts of Microsoft’s technology but Renault-Nissan will be the first automaker to use the entire suite.

Microsoft’s new Connected Vehicle Platform comes three years after it lost Ford as its big customer.

Using the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform and the Cortana interface, Nissan will collaborate with Microsoft to build more connected car apps and options that will be used across the Renault-Nissan alliance’s brands globally. Other integrated options include a partnership with Bose to minimise sound-based distractions from the vehicle, its entertainment systems, and more.

Collaboration with Nasa

At CES, the company unveiled Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM), a human-machine learning system, developed in collaboration with Nasa, that helps autonomous cars navigate through obstacles, and other challenges that may arise in the real world.

If issues occur on the road, for example, the car uses the system to feedback to a Nissan control centre, and an alternative route is found.

Through a live feed demonstration from the Ames Research labs, Nissan showed the system in action. When confronted with a situation in which the car could not easily determine what to do, it signalled the driver to take over and make the decision. The SAM system learnt from that behaviour and would eventually be able to navigate a similar situation itself. 

The next edition of Leaf could have a range of 544 kilometres on a single charge.

Source: Naushad K. Cherrayil, Staff Reporter, gulfnews.com