(Mirror Daily, United States) – Nissan announced that it plans to test a handful of driverless taxis on the streets of Japan’s capital city, Tokyo. The driverless service dubbed Easy Ride will transport riders on a set route.
The driverless taxis are several Nissan Leaf electric cars retrofitted as autonomous cars. The route is just 2.5 miles long and spans from the car maker’s headquarters to a large Tokyo shopping center called Yokohama World Porters.
The company plans to expand the route soon. Nissan has joined forces with a big Japanese telecom, Dena, for the project. It plans to roll out and expand the service nationally by the early 2020.
Users can book a ride on one of the self-driving taxis via a smartphone app, which will also come with suggestions of destinations, a feature that could be very useful to tourists. The app is also compatible with voice activation technology with support in several languages.
Retailers and other merchants can buy ads in the app and entice users with various discounts and special offers.
Other Car Makers Investing in Driverless Technologies
Nissan said it has been testing a driverless technology that would enable cars to take a passenger from his home and get him to a desired destination. The company hopes to get the technology ready by 2020.
Alphabet-owned Waymo plans to launch a similar driverless taxi service in Phoenix, AZ, by the end of the year. Waymo is currently testing driverless vehicles on the roads of two dozen U.S. cities, including Metro Detroit, San Francisco, and Atlanta.
General Motors has also joined the race. Last month, it unveiled a driverless Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle which lacks pedals and steering wheel. The car maker plans to test the vehicle in the real world next year, but it will neeed regulatory approval first.
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