Nissan is making initial headway into providing mobility with autonomous electric vehicles. They have partnered with DeNA, a mobile gaming provider, to deliver mobile taxi services and a trial is to start this March in Yokohama, Japan.
Early testing has begun with a Nissan Leaf equipped with autonomous driving technology along a 4.5 km route in Yokohama city, but the first public test will occur on March 5. The companies plan to gather significant data from the public testing to provide a mobile app operated ride-hail service similar to Uber and the likes. Nissan says though that it wants the service to feel like a concierge service, i.e. including restaurant suggestions.
The programme is planned to be launched at Nissan’s HQ in Yokohama for the start, before it might expand to the rest of the country in the early 2020s. Nissans chief executive Hiroto Saikawa said to Reuters “We realize that it’s going to take time to become a service operator, but we want to enter into this segment by partnering with companies which are experts in the field.”
Nissan also has an agreement with Didi Chuxing in China to explore electric car sharing, leaving ample opportunity for Nissan to begin exporting the robot taxi technology in future.