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Nissan confirms self-driving taxi trials will begin soon

Nissan joins the race for self-driving taxis, launching trials in partnership with Japanese firm.

By April Slattery

Nissan has moved up a gear to bring its autonomous vehicle technology to market, aiming to compete with the likes of Uber in the near future.

The car manufacturer has team up with Japanese mobile gaming platform operator DeNA Co. to develop the technology. Together the pair will begin public field tests of its Easy Ride service in Yokohama early next month.

Developing the technology aims to boost Nissan’s position in the private car hire industry, competing with Uber and other operators such as Uber. The ride-hailing app has already attempted to roll out its own self-driving fleet of taxis, striking a deal with Volvo to buy up to 24,000 autonomous cars.

Nissan’s trials will be among the first manufacturers anywhere to test ride-hailing software developed in-house, using its own fleet of self-driving electric cars.

Nissan confirms self-driving taxi trials will begin soon

The trials will bring Nissan into the competition.

“We realise that it’s going to take time to become a service operator, but we want to enter into this segment by partnering with companies which are experts in the field,” Nissan’s chief executive, Hiroto Saikawa said to Reuters.

The company has said that its service, Easy Ride, is designed to act more as a concierge service on wheels as appose to just a taxi. When using the service, it will not only get passengers from A to B but it will also offer recommendations of places of interest to visit, things to do and where to eat.

Research from UBS found that the service will hugely benefit passengers, not only in experience but in price. The service is expected to reduce fares by as much as 80% compared to current fares.

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Nissan’s latest announcement follows the company forming an agreement to with its partners Renault SA and Mitsubishi; to explore working with Chinese transport services conglomerate Did Chuxing.

The partnership will explore expanding service routes and support for multiple languages before launching its autonomous taxi service to the public in the early 2020s.


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