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Nissan Leaf with advanced-driver assist to begin public road tests in Japan

Thu, 26 Sep 2013

Nissan is about to begin testing advanced driver-assist systems in the real world, and a new Nissan Leaf is serving as the test bed for these technologies. This is all a part of Nissan's development of Autonomous Drive, a goal to achieve virtually zero fatalities in accidents involving its vehicles by the year 2020. Autonomous Drive can be said to be a further development of Nissan's Safety Shield, a system that has a 360-degree view around the vehicle that scans for risks and provides warnings to the driver, intervening automatically if necessary.

Nissan is working on a separate proving ground for Autonomous Drive that will offer controlled conditions, but the first Nissan Leaf is already set to test some of these systems in real-world conditions. The dedicated Nissan Leaf is capable of performing functions like automatic exit, automatic lane change and automatic overtaking of slower or stopped vehicles. The prototype will also be able to stop at red lights all by itself and to decelerate when detecting congestion up ahead, in addition to staying in the same lane by itself.

The Leaf is capable of performing all these tasks.

"The realization of the Autonomous Drive system is one of our greatest goals because 'zero fatalities' stands alongside 'zero emissions' as major objectives of Nissan's R&D. Through public road testing, we will further develop the safety, efficiency and reliability of our technology," said Mitsuhiko Yamashita, Nissan Executive Vice President for Research and Development.

The technologies that this prototype Nissan Leaf hosts are merely a stepping stone for Nissan's Autonomous Drive goal and can be seen as a way toward 100 percent self-driving cars, which seem to be ever closer on the horizon. The culmination of these efforts will be commercially viable Autonomous Drive vehicles by the year 2020.

By Jay Ramey