Nissan & DeNA To Begin Public Self-Driving Taxi Service Testing In Japan In 2018

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The public testing of self-driving on-demand taxi service (“ridesharing service”) will commence in Japan in 2018, Nissan and its partner, the gaming software firm DeNA Co, have revealed.

This initial testing will take place over a 2-week period in the city of Yokohama in March 2018 — whereby riders or pilot participants will be able to use an app developed by DeNA to call for a self-driving Nissan LEAF taxi to pick them up, and then to deliver them to any number of pre-mapped destinations in the city.

This testing process will represent what the two firms say is the first step towards the goal of launching a full-service, on-demand, self-driving taxi service in Japan in the early 2020s. It’s noteworthy here, though, that the two companies have actually been performing field testing of their “Easy Ride” system since earlier this year.

“Global automakers are looking beyond making and selling cars to survive an industry which is being quickly transformed by new services, and a growing number including General Motors Co are applying their expertise in automated driving functions for mass-market cars to develop mobility services,” Reuters notes.

As regular CleanTechnica readers know well, other companies headed in this direction include Waymo/Alphabet/Google, Tesla, Uber, Lyft, Delphi/Aptiv, and, well, practically every automaker.

It’s notable that, in Japan, the Nissan-DeNA partnership will be facing competition from the robotics firm ZMP — which has been working in recent times with a Tokyo taxi firm to create a self-driving taxi service that could possibly be launched in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. That’s perhaps an unrealistic goal, but would represent quite a PR coup, so who can blame them for trying?

Elsewhere, DeNA has also been working on the rollout of self-driving shuttle buses in ritual communities — with the idea being that such services could be used to provide transportation for elderly residents in such locations.

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James Ayre

James Ayre'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.

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