The Japanese automaker, Nissan announced recently its plans to produce a new modified version of its LEAF electric vehicles to keep up with its rivals including Tesla and Google. On Friday, it said Nissan will begin conducting tests modified “self-driving” versions of that model on public streets in the British capital of London starting in February, according to a report in Reuters.
Technical team and safety experts including government officials and passengers, will test the technology in a live environment. Nissan has converted its LEAF electric cars, allowing them to operation without a driver, there will always be someone sitting in the driver seat, in case of emergency.
The U.K. government has previously said it wants to encourage the development and testing of autonomous driving technology in the country as it looks to stay competitive with other tech hubs around the world. Now the government helping to build an industry to serve a worldwide car-market is expected to be worth around $1.1 trillion (900 billion pounds) by 2025.
“With future models secured and cutting-edge innovation being developed right here in the U.K., we’re looking forward to a strong future of designing, engineering, and manufacturing in the country for customers right across the world,” said Nissan Europe Chairman Paul Willcox tells Reuters.
Although Nissan has previously tested its self-driving cars on public roads by unveiling its Pro Pilot autonomous driving technology designed for single-lane highway use. In Nov. 2015, the company started testing its first autonomous vehicle, a prototype based on the Leaf EV, on highways and city roads in Japan.
By next year, Nissan also plans to introduce another version of its integrated autonomous technology, which will include “multi-lane highway autonomous mode” and Nissan has promised to include self-driving technology in multiple vehicles by 2020.
The firm faced a number of reported problems with the vehicles, ProPilot is not a completely autonomous technology. It can assist drivers in heavy traffic, it still requires them to keep their hands on the wheel at all times and it has been forced to move testing to Arizona.
It is unclear precisely when in February Nissan will bring the fleet of cars to London.