Japanese auto major Nissan has chosen London to carry out real-world trials of self-driving cars in Europe.
The company will conduct on-road demonstrations in London, enabling the vehicles and their passengers to cover a diverse city environment.
Nissan said that it will test a modified version of its compact electric LEAF car equipped with autonomous driving technology on London roads in February.
The tests are expected to see participation of passengers, including government officials and technical and safety experts.
Nissan said in a statement: “These will be the first demonstrations of Nissan’s autonomous drive technology on public roads in Europe, representing the next step in Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility blueprint for transforming how cars are driven, powered, and integrated into wider society.”
Recently, the carmaker announced that both the refreshed Qashqai and the new LEAF will be equipped with autonomous drive technology to enable single lane autonomous driving on motorways.
The firm plans to introduce the two vehicles soon.
An announcement to trial self-driving cars was made following a visit to the Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, by the Rt Hon Greg Clark, the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Clark said: “Government and industry are working together to build on our world class reputation for excellence as a leading location for automotive R&D and manufacturing.
“We want to see centres, like Nissan’s here in Cranfield, continue to develop, making us a world leader in the development and testing of auto technology so we can anchor the next generation of vehicle manufacturing and its supply chain here in the UK.”
NTCE is the European research and development (R&D) hub for Nissan to develop autonomous drive technologies as well as new advanced fuel, energy and efficiency technologies.
The centre works in collaboration with the Nissan Technical Centre and Advanced Technical Centre in Japan.
In April last year, Volvo announced plans to driverless technology in London under the trial code named “Drive Me London”.
The trial was expected to start in 2017 with a small number of semi-autonomous cars taking to public roads, such as motorways and A roads, before the UK test is expanded to 100 fully autonomous cars in 2018.