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Nissan ‘robo-taxi’ taking to Japanese roads in March

Nissan and DeNA will recruit participants for a field test of the Easy Ride mobility service in Yokohama, Japan, until 15 January 2018…

As technology continues to make public transport faster, more efficient, and more sustainable, car manufacturers are looking for new ways to operate in the evolving mobility market, as Nissan becomes the latest to reveal an autonomous taxi service.

The joint venture between Nissan and mobile commerce firm DeNA, branded Easy Ride, has been underway since January 2017, and is described as a robo-vehicle mobility service. It is set for a public field test in the Minatomirai district of Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan between 5 March and 18 March 2018.

The companies say they are aiming to combine the Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision through technological assets in autonomous driving, vehicle electrification and connected cars, with DeNA using its expertise in the internet and artificial intelligence to develope and operate driverless mobility services.

A dedicated mobile app will enable customers to choose their destination, hail a vehicle, and pay for the ride all in one place. They will also be able to select recommended local destinations and sightseeing routes, depending on what they want to do.

When Google’s parent company announced that it was set to trial autonomous ride-sharing on the roads of Arizona, there were fears for pedestrian and passenger safety. Only time will tell whether there is any genuine cause for alarm in these trials, but Easy Ride will be monitored remotely, and support multiple languages for tourists in an effort to keep every user safe.

Nissan and DeNA started a technical field test using an autonomous vehicle this year. The companies will recruit participants for the March field test until 15 January through the Easy Ride website.

Nissan and DeNA aim to provide the service as a new infrastructure option that supplements existing transportation. With customers able to discover new local destinations through Easy Ride, the companies expect the service will also help energise cities and neighbourhoods.

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