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Nissan Self-Driving Robotaxi Leaf Is Hitting the Streets of Yokohama

Nissan Gets Proactive With Autonomous Leaf Prototype Demos

Nissan is taking its self-driving ambitions out for a spin, started putting an autonomous Leaf prototype through its paces on public roads in Yokohama, near its global headquarters.

The prototype EV is outfitted with an array of 14 cameras, 10 radars, and 6 lidar sensors to expand its sensing capabilities and “accurate awareness” of its surroundings, as Nissan puts it. With all those eyes and ears, the self-driving Leaf can navigate crowded urban environments, judging when to merge into another lane or brake for crossing pedestrians and cyclists.

While the current demonstrations still have a human safety driver behind the wheel, Nissan says the prototype is operating at SAE Level 2 – meaning it can handle acceleration, steering, and braking in certain conditions. The goal? Gradually increasing the autonomous driving smarts through further testing before launching a full robotaxi service in Japan by fiscal year 2027.

Getting there will require more than just acing the technological challenges. After the demonstrations wrap up later this year, Nissan plans customer testing to gauge interest and acceptance of driverless mobility services. Will people embrace being shuttled around in a robotaxi?

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