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Nissan carries out first public road test of Autonomous Drive on expressways in Japan

Nissan Motor Corporation has carried out the first public road test of Autonomous Drive (AD) (earlier post) on a Japanese highway. A Nissan LEAF electric vehicle equipped with the technology took to the Sagami Expressway in Kanagawa prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, with the prefecture’s Governor, Yuji Kuroiwa, and Nissan Vice Chairman Toshiyuki Shiga, on board.

The vehicle operated fully automatically on the highway. Journalists witnessed the tests and later had the opportunity to experience the car on the highway themselves.

The milestone event in the development of next-generation mobility was carried out with the cooperation of Kanagawa Prefecture. It took place near the “Sagami Robot Industry Special Zone,” an area that is being revitalized with the help of the local government. Projects include the development of life-assist robots which are equipped with sensors, artificial intelligence, and control systems. The public road test conducted in the special zone will help Nissan to develop Autonomous Drive towards its goal of being ready with commercially-viable vehicles by 2020.

The Nissan LEAF used on the public road testing was the first vehicle with Autonomous Drive capability to be granted a license plate in Japan. (Earlier post.) Nissan’s prototypes are equipped with Autonomous Drive technology that detects road conditions and automatically operates the car’s main controls, including steering, braking and acceleration. The vehicles can operate in full automatic mode on the expressway, merge into traffic, change lanes and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles.

Main functions. Click to enlarge.



I am looking forward to seeing if autonomous driving improves the reliability of ancillary electrical systems such as indicator switch gear.

It seems that currently I have the only fully functioning set of indicator lights in the United Kingdom for indicating when I intend to change lanes etc.


It is conceivable that future autonomous drive vehicles will wirelessly communicate their intentions (and current data) to adjacent vehicles to reduce the risk of accidents.

Knowing what other vehicles intent to do, a few seconds before they actually do it, will give the autonomous adjacent vehicles more time to react and accommodate.

Commercial Airplanes already do it to avoid accidents and so will autonomous future vehicles. The basic technologies to do it already exist and they will be further improved.

Eventually, autonomous vehicles will reduce road accidents and fatalities by a very wide margin.

There will be no such thing as burning red traffic lights (because traffic lights will wirelessly broadcast changes a few seconds before they happen). No more running over bicycles and pedestrians and crashing into other vehicles.

With Rambo (s) in the back seat, road safety will move forward and over 200,000 lives and countless damages will be avoided every year..

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