Carmaker Nissan and Internet services company DeNA have announced the start of a field test of their ‘robo-vehicle’ mobility service, Easy Ride, in Japan.
The test in Yokohoma, in the country’s Kanagawa Prefecture, will begin on 5 March and see participants travelling in vehicles equipped with autonomous driving technology along a set route. The 4.5 km route links Nissan’s global headquarters with the Yokohoma World Porters shopping center.
To monitor the trials and provide riders with peace of mind, the companies will monitor the vehicles remotely.
The partners will use the trial as an opportunity to test several Easy Ride functions, such as a dedicated mobile app allowing passengers to input what they want to do via text or voice and choose from a list of recommendations.
An in-car tablet screen will also highlight nearby events and places of interest, while participants can download discount coupons for local retailers and restaurants on their smartphones.
Nissan and DeNA will seek passengers’ views through a survey and use the results as they work to design services for driverless environments, expand their routes and develop the mechanics of the service.
The companies aim to launch Easy Ride in a limited environment, before introducing a full service in the early 2020s.