Nissan said a self-driving version of its electric Leaf car made its first foray onto public roads. Its guidance system, called Autonomous Drive, senses road conditions and operates the car’s steering, acceleration and braking as it merges into traffic, changes lanes and makes adjustments to keep a safe distance from other vehicles.
The Leaf drove on Japan’s Sagami Expressway in Kanagawa prefecture, southwest of Tokyo. Nissan vice chairman Toshiyuki Shiga and the prefecture’s Governor, Yuji Kuroiwa, rode in the car during the test, which marked a major step toward Nissan’s goal of selling self-driving cars to consumers by 2020.
A bigger step might be getting all to accept the concept
Many car makers have experimented with autonomous passenger vehicles in part as a way to increase safety and efficiency. Technology company Google has a fleet of self-driving cars that have been on the road for years. Some safety experts have long said our highways would be much safer if cars drove themselves, cutting the chance of human error.