Nissan Leaf completes record breaking self-driving journey

Nissan has made claim to the world record for the longest self-driving car journey, after a Nissan Leaf packed full of cameras, sensors, satellites and a safety driver rolled into the company’s European headquarters in Sunderland to complete a 370km road trip.

Fitted with seven cameras, eight lidar sensors, two GPS satellite receivers and numerous computers, the self-driving car left Cranfield University in Bedfordshire on a journey that took the vehicle along country roads, motorways and a semi-urban environment to prove its capabilities across various environments.

The electric Leaf was also able to navigate roads with little or no markings and a series of roundabouts and junctions.

The journey marks a major breakthrough for autonomous vehicle technology, with the seven-and-a-half-hour journey demonstrating the extent to which autonomous technology has advanced in recent years.

Nissan European Senior Vice President for research and development, David Moss, said the self-driving car was so successful that other road users wouldn’t have noticed it was driving itself.

“The vehicle is much more aware of what is happening in that surrounding area than possibly a driver would be because of the amount of sensors which are continually monitoring the environment,” said Moss.

“Other drivers around the vehicle would not have noticed that the vehicle is actually fully autonomous.”

While recent trials have proven successful, it is believed that self-driving technology won’t be made commercially available for some time yet. This is despite Tesla promising to have full self-driving systems ready by 2020 and GM recently releasing a concept for the fully autonomous Origin vehicle.

Nissan have been developing self-driving technology in the Leaf since as early as 2013, with European trials commencing in 2017. With more than seven years already invested into the technology, Nissan has been able to rollout technology for lower levels of autonomy such as the ProPilot, which assists drivers with accelerating, braking and steering.

Source: Electrek | Nissan Leaf completes 230-mile driverless trip in UK

12 Feb 2020