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Nissan To Test Self-Driving Leaf In London Next Month

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【Summary】Nissan will begin testing its next-gen Leaf, which will have self-driving technology, next month in London.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jan 17, 2017 1:35 PM PT
Nissan To Test Self-Driving Leaf In London Next Month

At this year's Consumer Electronic Show (CES), Nissan revealed a lot of information about the next generation of the all-electric Leaf. The most substantial tidbit about the upcoming electric vehicle is the automaker's addition of its self-driving technology, ProPilot. The technology first made an appearance on the Serena, a minivan that is sold in Japan and Europe, which allows the vehicle to drive autonomously on single-lane highways. Now, the automaker will begin testing its self-driving cars in London next month, reports Reuters.  

Why London?

According to the report, Nissan hopes to encourage other automakers to test and develop self-driving technology in Britain. The aim, as Reuters points out, is to help build an industry that could be worth approximately $1.1 trillion by 2025. 

Reuters reports Nissan stated that a modified variant of its all-electric Leaf, which will be equipped with the automaker's self-driving technology, will begin testing in the city next month. The first set of trials will be Nissan's first attempt at testing its autonomous technology. 

"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," stated Paul Willcox, Chairman of Management Committee for Nissan Europe. 

In addition to testing the next Leaf on London's busy, complicated roads, Nissan also plans to increase production at one of its plants in England, reports Reuters

While the plan is to begin testing the Leaf next month in London, Wired reports that the automaker still has some hurdles to overcome. According to the report, Nissan still needs to receive final approval to test its vehicles from an anonymous local authority before it can begin testing cars in London. 

Ars Technicia claims that once the automaker receives proper clearance from the undisclosed authority, it will begin carrying out secret tests that includes passengers being escorted across a specific district. As pointed out by Wired, if the tests go smoothly, the next-generation of the Leaf with all of the self-driving technology will be available by 2020. 

This isn't the first time Nissan tested one of its self-driving vehicles on public roads. As reported by Engadget, Nissan first began testing vehicles with autonomous capabilities in Tokyo towards the end of 2015. After that, the automaker moved its testing program towards Silicon Valley, CA at the beginning of last year. 

Nissan's Not Alone In London

Nissan won't be the only automaker to start testing its autonomous vehicles in London this year, as Volvo announced plans to unleash a fleet of self-driving XC90 SUVs in the city last year. The Swedish automaker's plan is part of its Drive Me program. 

It's not just automakers that are testing autonomous vehicles in London either. Academic groups, like the Oxford Robotics Institute, according to The Verge, began testing self-driving vehicles on London's public roads last year. 

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