Nissan Takes A ‘Leaf’ Out Of Uber’s Book
It looks like everyone is jumping onto the ride-hailing bandwagon and the latest newcomer to this market is Nissan. Having established itself, with the partnership of Renault and Mitsubishi of course, as the number one automotive group worldwide last year, the company is not resting on its laurels and is pushing the envelope venturing into other fields.
As we are facing a future in which self-driving cars will outnumber vehicle ownership, the people at Nissan is not leaving anything to chance by taking its first steps to becoming an operator of autonomous transportation services.
Called ‘Easy Ride’, the Japanese automaker will be partnering mobile gaming platform operator DeNA Co in public trial test runs, beginning in Yokohama next month.
DeNa is well known for its partnership with Nintendo that has produced games like “Fire Emblem Heroes”. It also has business in e-commerce, entertainment, healthcare, social networking and automotive tech.
This service is meant to feel like a concierge service on wheels, making restaurant recommendations while the car is on the move. The trial runs of these self-driving taxis, which are called “robo-vehicles”, will take passengers along a 4.5-kilometer set route between the Yokohama World Porters shopping center and Nissan’s corporate complex.
During the journey, passengers can try out Easy Ride’s concierge features by using a mobile app to ask for suggestions about local sightseeing destinations, which are then displayed on an in-car tablet screen with coupons available for download. It will also have multiple languages, making it easier for visitors.
A remote monitoring centre will oversee the cars during the field test and passengers will be asked to complete a survey after the ride about their experiences and also how much would they pay for Easy Ride when it launches.
The companies say launch of the full service of Easy Ride will be in the early 2020s. The field tests will be used to “develop service designs for driverless environments, expanded service routes, vehicle distribution logic, pick-up/drop-off processes and multilingual support,” the companies said in a release.
Here’s a video that gives you a taste of what a future with self-driving cars will be like, albeit with Nissan’s e-NV200 electric van as opposed to the Leaf. But we’re sure the Leaf will be deployed for these duties.