The Leaf steering wheel
The car giant says it is 'very near to creating fully autonomous drive'
Inspired by Tron?
While Google may have captured most of the headlines surrounding self-driving cars, Nissan took a big step forward this week when it unleashed its system on Japanese highways for the first time.
Nissan’s Autonomous Drive vehicle, based on an electric Leaf car, boasts cameras, laser guidance and radar - as well as a very cool glowing steering wheel that looks like it had been lifted straight from Tron.
Nissan Vice Chairman Toshiyuki Shiga and Kanagawa Governor Yuji Kuroiwa took the car for a spin on the Sagami Expressway near Yokohama.
“I feel we are very near to creating fully autonomous drive,” said Shiga.
“We entered the highway, overtook slower cars, and got off the highway, entirely in autonomous driving mode,”.
“We entered the highway very slowly, at 40 km/hour, and drove at 80 km/hour on the highway.
"Autonomous drive is becoming very realistic now.”
Governor Kuroiwa, who gave the tests the go-ahead, said they were crucial in the car’s development.
“This technology is still in its infant stage. It lacks road experience, but by accumulating those experiences, the technology will further evolve,” he said.
“The more it learns from driving time, the more intelligent the system becomes, as well as safer. I was amazed by the capabilities of this car.”
The drive took place near the Sagami Robot Industry Special Zone, an area hosting projects such as life-assist robots.
Earlier this month Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe christened the AD car with a ride on the streets of Tokyo, while further road milestones are coming as Nissan brings the technologies across its entire model line of vehicles.