Nissan has announced it will begin trialling self-driving taxis as part of its Easy Ride service in Yokohama, Japan from March 2018, with a plan to have a fully-fledged service up and running in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games. The Japanese car maker will partner with Japanese software company DeNA to conduct the trial and will use a Nissan Leaf as the test car.
Passengers will be able to request and pay for a taxi all from a mobile app. There will allegedly be different route options available, so if you're happy to pay for a longer but more scenic route, it will be possible.
Nissan has said of the service: "With 'more freedom of mobility' as its concept, Easy Ride is envisioned as a service for anyone who wants to travel freely to their destination of choice in a robo-vehicle,"
"The goal is to allow customers to use a dedicated mobile app to complete the whole process, from setting destinations and summoning vehicles to paying the fare."
A test driver will be sat in the car trial cars for legal purposes, but the idea is to have the car do all the work, with the human only interfering if totally necessary. Potential customers/guinea pigs can sign up to be a part of the trial and go on test runs from now until 15 January.
Nissan already offers some self-driving technologies as part of its ProPilot platform with the Leaf in the UK, but Japan's roads are entirely different kettle of fish. With a 2020 rollout envisaged, Nissan has plenty of time to iron out any issues.