The self-driving taxi service, known as Easy Ride, is said to be the first test to take place in Japan's coastal city of Yokohama, and Nissan will work with DeNA, a technology company that develops healthcare, gaming and auto networking services.
Nissan plans to combine its Intelligent Mobility vision with DeNA's experience in developing and operating driverless mobility services for the development of new Easy Ride brand.
It's notable that, in Japan, the Nissan-DeNA partnership will be facing competition from the robotics firm ZMP - which has been working in recent times with a Tokyo taxi firm to create a self-driving taxi service that could possibly be launched in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Nissan will ask the general public to participate as passengers through a booking application on smartphones, said Kazumasa Fujita, a manager at Nissan's corporate strategy department.
Through this Easy Ride service, users can make a vehicle call through the mobile APP, set the destination and let the unmanned taxi directly take them to a designated place.
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.
As per the report, Yutaka Sanada, a Nissan senior vice president, said the firm is aiming to add autonomous-driving functions step-by-step, first allowing more cars to handle single-lane driving by themselves, and subsequently navigate urban roads, including intersections, by 2020. It's noteworthy here, though, that the two companies have actually been performing field testing of their "Easy Ride" system since earlier this year. Nissan said through such a new rental taxi mode, the city's public transport infrastructure will be greatly expanded, Easy Ride will effectively enhance the interaction between cities. With customers able to discover new local destinations through Easy Ride, the companies expect the service will also help energise cities and neighbourhoods.