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Nissan launches on-road autonomous test in Europe

Robo chop: Nissan will use a heavily modified version of its Leaf electric vehicle to test the brand’s autonomous technology on the streets of London.

London to host autonomous technology test of modified Nissan Leaf EV

Nissan logo18 Jan 2017

By ROBBIE WALLIS

NISSAN has announced that it will begin on-road autonomous vehicle testing in Europe next month, taking to the busy streets of London in a modified Leaf electric vehicle to demonstrate the latest advancements in self-driving tech from the Japanese company.

It will give passengers including government officials and technical and safety experts the chance to sit in the vehicle and experience the technology first-hand, showcasing the progress of ‘Nissan intelligent Mobility’, the brand’ s mantra for developing the way that cars are driven, powered and used in society in the future.

The car-maker also used the announcement to confirm that the yet-to-be-revealed new Leaf and refreshed Qashqai small SUV will debut autonomous technology that would allow single-lane autonomous driving on highways.

Technology for the autonomous car has been developed at the Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) based in Bedfordshire in collaboration with the Nissan Technical Centre and Advanced Technical Centre in Japan.

The NTCE is Nissan’s European hub for research and development, specialising in autonomous drive tech as well as advanced fuel, energy and efficiency technologies.

Current projects include the development of vehicle-to-grid technology integration, electric battery advancements and development of the new Qashqai, due for global launch this year.

Nissan Europe chairman Paul Willcox said the testing of the autonomous Leaf was an important step in the advancement of Nissan Intelligent Mobility.

“With future models secured and cutting-edge innovation being developed right here in the UK, we're looking forward to a strong future of designing, engineering and manufacturing in the country for customers right across the world,” he said.

“In just a few weeks' time, there will be Nissan LEAFs driving on the streets of London using our autonomous driving technology. Nissan Intelligent Mobility is happening right now, right here in the UK and across Europe.” Despite low take-up of the current Leaf, which sold just 42 units in 2016 and 616 in total since launching in mid-2012, Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Richard Emery told GoAuto in April 2016 that the company was committed to bringing the next-gen Leaf Down Under.

“Our commitment to Leaf with our dealers not only is to make sure we get access to the new car when it does arrive, the next-generation car – which there is still no confirmation on timing – so that we are seen as a car company in Australia that has sustained, over a long time, commitment to electric vehicles,” he said.

While the replacement model is yet to be revealed, it is understood that it will borrow technology and design cues from the IDS concept revealed at the 2015 Tokyo motor show.

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