Published on November 22nd, 2013 | by James Ayre


Autonomous Drive Nissan LEAF Hits Public Roads For The First Time — Japanese Prime Minister In Tow

November 22nd, 2013 by  

Nissan’s Autonomous Drive version of the LEAF recently hit public streets in Japan for the first time, while carrying the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, making it the first vehicle with autonomous drive capability to be given a license plate in Japan. The drive took place on the roads near the National Diet Front Garden — a public park located towards the center of Tokyo, near the Imperial Palace and the parliament.

The participation of the Prime Minister makes it very clear just how much the Japanese government is banking on the development of technologies such as autonomously driven vehicles. The drive was organized primarily by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, working closely with the three participating domestic motor companies.

Green Car Congress provides more:

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.

A “proving ground” for the Autonomous Drive Nissan LEAF is currently being constructed at one of Nissan’s testing facilities in Japan — the facility will work to test the vehicle in a large number of potential and dangerous situations.

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • enjoyed the video, excellent idea for those that drink and drive

    • Bob_Wallace

      An even more excellent idea for those who get hit by those who drink and drive.

  • Kyle Field

    Fun milestone…can’t wait until they’re available for purchase 🙂

    • tibi stibi

      i think i will rent them sooner than purchaes.

      • Kyle Field

        Yes, I plan to lease my next electric car as well. These would be the same.

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