Autonomous version of Nissan’s LEAF seen cruising at 50mph in London

Nissan has tested the autonomous version of the LEAF in Silicon Valley and in Tokyo. This marks its first test in a European city.

Nissan took the first step towards the testing of its first self-driving car in Europe. Guided by radars and cameras Nissan’s autonomous vehicle negotiated traffic and roundabouts in the busy streets of London.

A modified version of the Nissan LEAF, travelled upto 50 miles an hour and naviguated itself from London’s busy local streets to a major multi-lane road.

The test was significant since it showcased a technology which in most probability is going to be the future of travel.

On its part, Britain has been wooing developers of autonomous vehicles in the hope of grabbing a slice of the $1.1 trillion industry.

The country has also announced changes in its insurance law which now allows for a single insurance policy that covers motorists driving a vehicle both in autonomous mode as well as conventionally.

Britain is trying to set in place regulations so as to encourage the uptake of autonomous vehicles from 2020.

This is one of the reasons why Nissan chose Britain for its first European tests, said the director of its research center in Silicon Valley.

“It’s not everywhere in Europe that we can go and drive on the road,” said Maarten Sierhuis.

“You don’t want to go to the most difficult parts of London when you start. The system has to be tested,” said Sierhuis.

Ahead of the trial, Nissan liaised with regulator, Transport for London as well as the police and supplied details of the route and the rules that it would follow. It was advised to keep a full detailed log, which it would have to share in the event of a mishap.

Nissan has already tested the self-driving version of the LEAF in Silicon Valley and Tokyo. It hopes to carry out similar tests in other European cities following the results of this test.

“We’re thinking of testing in the Netherlands and Paris. It’s not easy to go and test everywhere because we need to create maps, we need to get approval from the regulators and then it is expensive to set up a test,” said Sierhuis.

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