Nissan is the latest company to enter the self-driving, ride-sharing car business. Every large car company in the world has a similar initiative. So do several tech companies, led by Alphabet’s Waymo. The size of this crowd has not dissuaded Nissan’s effort to press the advanced technology with an actual product.
According to the Japanese car company’s management:
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and DeNA Co., Ltd. will begin a field test of Easy Ride, the robo-vehicle mobility service being developed by both companies, on March 5.
Easy Ride is envisioned as a mobility service for anyone who wants to travel freely to their destination of choice in a robo-vehicle. During the field test, in the Minatomirai district of Yokohama, in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture, the participants will be able to travel in vehicles equipped with autonomous driving technology along a set route. The route spans about 4.5 kilometers between Nissan’s global headquarters and the Yokohama World Porters shopping center.
For efficient fleet operation and customers’ peace of mind, Nissan and DeNA have set up a remote monitoring center that uses the two companies’ advanced technologies.
DeNA is a small tech company based in Japan. It has fewer than 2,000 employees.
Passengers in the cars can use text or voice to make commands about their destinations. The cars also will offer 500 places of interest that people might want to visit. The program even offers passengers approximately 40 coupons to use at businesses along the routes.
The risk of the money spent on the venture is that Nissan has come to the market too late with a product that has very limited range. In November, Waymo management said its fleet had traveled 400 million miles. Many experts believe that General Motors is among the leaders of self-driving technology. It is, along with Volkswagen and Toyota, one of the three largest car companies in the world.
For the time being, the Nissan initiative is nothing more than a toy venture.