First Autonomous Highway Leaf Ride

For the first time yesterday, Nissan’s Autonomous Drive Leaf vehicle drove on Japan’s public highways.

The company considers this ride another milestone for the autonomous driving Leaf test vehicle’s cutting-edge technologies.

Nissan explained it carried out the highway test with the cooperation of the Kanagawa prefectural government, further progress on a road map that will see more Autonomous zero-emission vehicles sporting cameras, laser guidance and radar for the ultimate in assisted driving.

Nissan Vice Chairman Toshiyuki Shiga and Kanagawa Governor Yuji Kuroiwa took the autonomous driving (AD) car for a spin on the Sagami Expressway, southwest of Yokohama, and Shiga said the test further advances the vehicle’s can-do list.

“I feel we are very near to creating fully autonomous drive. We entered the highway, overtook slower cars, and got off the highway, entirely in autonomous driving mode,” said Shiga.

Governor Kuroiwa said the prefecture, which will be home to Nissan’s Autonomous Drive proving ground, is perfect to host further refinement of the Autonomous Drive technology.

“This technology is still in its infant stage. It lacks road experience, but by accumulating those experiences, the technology will further evolve,” said Kuroiwa. “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.”

Nissan said 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 Nissan said further road milestones are coming as the company brings the technologies across its entire model line of vehicles.