Nissan Leaf Sets New Record For Autonomous Journey
Nissan's Leaf has set an impressive new benchmark, breaking the record for the longest self-driven journey in the UK.
The fully electric vehicle navigated itself for a journey of 230 miles, the most complex journey that an autonomous vehicle has completed to date.
The journey, nicknamed 'The GrandDrive', saw the Leaf depart from Cranfield to travel to Sunderland, home of Japanese manufacturer's UK factory. The car used a variety of roads, including country lanes and the M1, driving alongside normal traffic on the way.
Fitted with radar, GPS, cameras, and Lidar laser measurement technology, Nissan says that the Leaf was able to use its advanced positioning technology to assess the surroundings in order to make decisions on how to avoid obstacles and navigate roads.
The car was not completely unmanned however, as two engineers remained inside the vehicle at all times, in order to briefly take over and guide it into four service stations for checks and charging. In the final analysis, the leaf easily reached it's target of 99% self-navigation.
Part-funded by the UK Government and a nine-party strong industry consortium, the £13.5m HumanDrive project is what made the GrandDrive possible.
Speaking about the GrandDrive, Bob Bateman, the project manager for Nissan’s Europe technical centre, said:
The HumanDrive project allowed us to develop an autonomous vehicle that can tackle challenges encountered on UK roads that are unique to this part of the world, such as complex roundabouts and high-speed country lanes with no road markings, white lines or kerbs.”
The Leaf has already proved itself to be hugely popular with motorists since its release in 2010, but Nissan can rightly point to this latest feat as a sign of the model's versatility as well as the potential of EVs (electric vehicles).
What's more, the success of the GrandDrive, and the HumanDrive project, may go a long way toward easing the public's concerns over self-driving cars.
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