London to host Nissan autonomous vehicle trials

The autonomous vehicle tests will reportedly involve a modified version of the electric Nissan LEAF - image courtesy of Nissan UK.
The autonomous vehicle tests will reportedly involve a modified version of the electric Nissan LEAF - image courtesy of Nissan UK.

It has been announced that Japanese car giant, Nissan, is planning to use London as its European autonomous vehicle testing ground.

Nissan is planning to at least one autonomous vehicle in London, with passengers including government officials and technical safety experts. The tests will reportedly involve a modified version of the electric Nissan LEAF and are expected to commence testing in February.

This will be the first public demonstration of Nissan’s autonomous technology on public roads in Europe and would represent a significant step forward for the Japanese car giant. The tests follow the recent announcement that the LEAF and the Qashqai will both feature autonomous technology.

 The tests will be carried out in secret in a London borough, if the tests are successful then it expected that the vehicle will be available to purchase commercially in 2020.

The announcement was made following a visit to the Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, by  UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the  Greg Clark; who commented: “Government and industry are working together to build on our world-class reputation for excellence as a leading location for automotive R&D and manufacturing.”

“We want to see centres, like Nissan’s here in Cranfield, continue to develop, making us a world leader in the development and testing of auto technology so we can anchor the next generation of vehicle manufacturing and its supply chain here in the UK.”

 Nissan Europe chairman, Paul Willcox explained: “Innovation and ingenuity is at the heart of the Nissan brand and its people. We’ve been developing that pioneering spirit for over half a century in Europe and for over 30 years in Britain.

“With future models secured and cutting-edge innovation being developed right here in the UK, we’re looking forward to a strong future of designing, engineering and manufacturing in the country for customers right across the world.”