Nissan will start testing its self-driving taxi service “Easy Ride” in a few days in hopes of launching it in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The automaker and Tokyo-based mobile developer DeNA will begin ferrying passengers in Yokohama on March 5th. Nissan’s autonomous cars will only be able to drive them along a set route
The vehicles will be geofenced along a 4.5-kilometer route between Nissan’s global headquarters and the Yokohama World Porters shopping center. Safety drivers will remain behind the wheel of the vehicles
After it launches its service, Nissan will be joining the ranks of Uber, Lyft, Ford, GM, Didi Chuxing, Waymo, and other companies that are trying to get into the world of autonomous ride-hailing vehicles
When Nissan first announced its plans to test the service this year, it said the initial trial period will only last for a couple of weeks. Nissan and DeNA won’t be able to gather tons of feedback within that time, but any survey response they get will be used to develop future field tests and Easy Ride itself. To be able to offer rides to Olympics tourists and Japan’s aging population, they’re planning to expand their routes, offer multilingual support and fine-tune their pick-up and drop-off processes in the upcoming years.
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