Nissan Leaf with Self-Driving Technology being tested with Plans of Launch in 2016

The new Nissan Leaf featuring self-driving technology is being tested, with the Japanese car maker planning to launch it by the end of 2016.

In a bid to participate in the highly-anticipated autonomous car market and following close on the heels Google and Tesla, who are developing cars with self-driving technology, Nissan launched its flagship electric vehicle Leaf, in its autonomous avatar, powered by Nissan Intelligent Driving.

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The primary aim of the Nissan Intelligent Driving is to reduce accident-related fatality down to zero by eliminating people from having to control the steering wheel. In a press statement, Nissan confirmed that it is testing the autonomous car in real-time traffic conditions.

Just like the Tesla Model S, Nissan’s self-driving program will start with phase 1 dubbed by the company as ‘Piloted Drive 1.0’ technology which will auto-pilot the car safely on highways. In the next phase of development, Nissan’s auto-drive technology will support multi-lane drive wherein the car will be able to automatically change lanes. The stage two is estimated to be launched by the end of 2018.

The third and final stage of Nissan Intelligent Driving, expected to be launched in 2020, will support advanced self-driving capabilities on city roads and will manage cross-sections and pedestrians too.

The autonomous Leaf prototype features multiple cameras, sensors, radar, computer processors all linked to a human-machine interface (HMI) for optimum safety. Takao Asami, Senior Vice President of Nissan said that Nissan is making structured preparations and plans to implement auto-pilot technology as it is committed to delivering a ‘safe and trouble-free motoring future.’  He also added the Nissan is keen on leading the industry in the self-driving technology.

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The autonomous Leaf-based Nissan vehicle is expected to take on rivals such as Tesla’s and Google’s Electric Vehicles. Google is already in the process of slowly and steadily testing its auto-pilot-powered vehicle. In July, Chris Urmson, automobile chief in Google, had confirmed that the company’s fleet was driving around Mountain View.

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