Nissan plans to test self-driving taxi service in March 2018 on roads in Yokohama Japan. The new Nissan Leaf electric vehicles will be autonomous and be an on demand ride-hailing service using a smartphone app similar to using Lyft or Uber. Nissan is partnering with Japanese software maker DeNA to create a robotic mobility ride-hailing service. According to WSJ its hoping to have a fleet of Leafs put into commercial service by the early 2020s.
This time-frame is similar to some competitors such as GM with its subsidary Cruise. Cruise anticipates a 2019 roll out, if all goes as planned. Meanwhile, Ford is planning 2021 to have an operational fleet ready and yet they were one of the earliest to have set a deadline.
Nissan, on the other hand, will start testing with two modified Nissan Leafs with autonomous features to analyze roads, while staff analyze pick up and drop off locations. The pilot program will allow participation from the public. According to the WSJ, during the testing users will not only specify exactly where they want to go, but they can also use general written queries. For example, saying “I want to have coffee,” then from there the car can automatically choose a relevant destination. Building upon a degree of autonomous destination selection using a UX differentiation may give Nissan an edge when it comes to competing with other services. This is pretty much saying the car will learn and anticipate your daily habits by understanding how you go do about your daily life. The car will learn to cater to those needs.