Field testing for the new robo taxi service being put together by Nissan and DeNA in Japan — which has been dubbed “Easy Ride” — will begin on March 5th, a new press release has revealed.
During initial field testing, service will be limited to the Minatomirai district of Yokohama (Kanagawa Prefecture), with service only available along set (but popular) routes, until further expansions.
The route in question, a 4.5 kilometer span between Nissan’s global headquarters and the Yokohama World Porters shopping center, was presumably chosen because of its utility to Nissan employees. It’ll be easier, of course, to collect detailed data and feedback from them than from the general public.
The Easy Ride pilot service will be monitored via a new, dedicated remote monitoring center — one utilizing both Nissan and DeNA tech.
The press release provides more:
“Nissan and DeNA will also test Easy Ride’s unique service functions. Using a dedicated mobile app, passengers can input what they want to do via text or voice and choose from a list of recommended destinations. An in-car tablet screen will show selections of nearly 500 recommended places of interest and events in the vicinity. Additionally, about 40 discount coupons for retailers and restaurants in the area are available for download on the participants’ own smartphones.
“Participants will be asked to complete a survey about their overall user experience, usage of content and coupons from local retailers and restaurants, and preferred pricing for the Easy Ride service. Nissan and DeNA will use the survey results as they continue to develop the offering, and for future field tests.”
This initial pilot program service will allow Nissan and DeNA to further develop and fine-tune its future service route plans, the hailing process and drop off process, best-practices regarding vehicle distribution, multilingual support, etc., according to the press release.
Full service is reportedly expected to be rolled out in Japan in the early 2020s, possibly in time for the Olympics.