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Nissan Reveals Leaf Piloted Drive 1.0 Concept, Will Start Testing Near Tokyo

I still remember seeing the Japanese prime minister being chauffeured around Tokyo in an autonomous Nissan Leaf about a year ago. At that time, I thought to myself "this is one of the most respected dignitaries in the world, they've got to keep their promise now," and Nissan is doing just that. The first real prototype for the piloted driving program has just been revealed.
Nissan Reveals Leaf Piloted Drive 1.0 1 photo
Photo: car.watch.impress.co.jp
Based on the Nissan Leaf and packed with complex sensors and a boot-fool of computing power, the car will begin autonomous testing at the company’s Advanced Technology Center located south of Tokyo.

Of course, the promise to make an autonomous car by 2020 is an old one, but it's being reinforced today. According to Nissan, this 1.0 prototype can already do many things that require a skilled driver, such as merge onto and off the highway and even pass cars by itself.

All this is possible thanks to 12 cameras, five radar sensors, four laser scanners, as well as ultrasonic sensors. A huge computer stuffed into the boot processes the data and decides what to do, but a steering wheel is still there if the driver ever decides to take control.

This is by no means a one-horse race because Audi, Daimler, BMW and General Motors are all developing autonomous vehicles at the moment. We can't forget about tech companies like Apple, Google, and of course, Tesla Motors. The recently developed piloted drive software for the Model S sedan is getting a lot of attention.

If there's one country where this technology can easily catch on, that's Japan. Engineers there are crazy about cutting-edge technology. The traffic rules are strictly enforced, and electric vehicle adoption is high. After all, you can't talk about the future of transportation without mentioning fully electric powertrains.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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