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Japan’s PM rides in Nissan LEAF for first Autonomous Drive public road test

Nissan’s Autonomous Drive test car has taken to the public roads in Japan for the first time, with the country’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on board. The all-electric Nissan LEAF vehicle, which was the first with autonomous drive capability (earlier post) to be granted a license plate in Japan, drove on the roads around the National Diet Front Garden, a public park in the center of Tokyo between Japan’s parliament and the Imperial Palace.

The attendance of the Prime Minister underlines the support of Japan’s government for the development of autonomously driven vehicles. The event was made possible through the support and planning of the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry. The three participating domestic motor companies worked with the close cooperation with the related ministries and government offices.

The LEAF is serving as a base vehicle for the development of autonomous drive technology. Driving on public roads is made possible with technology to detect road conditions. The vehicle is equipped with cameras, laser scanners and radar, which identify nearby pedestrians, traffic lights, traffic signs and other objects.

The data is processed by an on-board computer that makes decisions which are implemented with automatically-operated controls for the vehicle’s acceleration, handling, brakes and more.

Nissan first revealed the autonomous drive prototype technology at “Nissan 360”, a vast test drive and product showcase event held in California in August-September 2013. The company announced it will be ready with commercially-viable Autonomous Drive by 2020, and the technology will be available across the model range within two vehicle generations.

Work has begun on a purpose-built Autonomous Drive proving ground at a Nissan facility in Japan to test the vehicles in extreme situations.



This is the way to go to reduce expensive road accidents and the associated 200,000 casualties and 1,000,000+ serious injuries/year.

Not all humans are qualified to drive. On board detectors could easily determine who are qualified who is not. The same detectors could check how good autonomous driving is?

Those who no not qualify should be convinced to use autonomous drive?


It looks a bit stressful. If people had no other choice but to ride in autonomous vehicles they might choose to walk or ride a bike.


Yes, a good solution for the 40+% who are badly in need of more exercises.


If one thinks EV mileage economy is resisted, wait until the first autonomous drive car wreak death - even if it's the other guy's fault.

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