Nissan has taken on two research and development projects that should be of interest to fleets – launching an autonomous vehicle in 2020 and contributing to New York’s ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ program. The automaker says it’s leveraging 80 years of technical prowess and innovation in new effort to revolutionize vehicle chassis and design for its Autonomous Drive vehicles; and the Nissan taxi features more content tailored specifically to the unique needs of New York City cab service than ever before, the company says.
The announcements recall the 2007 statement made by the company that it would bring a zero emission, all-electric car (the Leaf) to market by 2010. They wouldn’t just be plug-in cars, but dependable, moderately priced EVs in different styles and segments. Nissan seems to be striving for another innovative role in the upcoming driverless/autonomous vehicle space.
Nissan says it will be ready with multiple, commercially-viable Autonomous Drive vehicles by 2020. Nissan announced that the company’s engineers have been carrying out intensive research on the technology for years, alongside teams from the world’s top universities, including MIT, Stanford, Oxford, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Tokyo. Work is already underway in Japan to build a dedicated autonomous driving proving ground, to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2014.
Laser scanners, Around View Monitor cameras, as well as advanced artificial intelligence and actuators, have been installed in Nissan Leafs to enable them to negotiate complex real-world driving scenarios. Nissan’s autonomous driving technology is an extension of its Safety Shield, which monitors a 360-degree view around a vehicle for risks, offers warnings to the driver and takes action if necessary.
Production of the Nissan NV200 Taxi – New York’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” – is now underway. The automaker developed the new taxi, which is based on the NV200 compact cargo vehicle, to suit the specific demands of the more than 600,000 people who ride in New York City taxicabs every day. In 2011, after a competitive two-year selection process, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) of New York City selected Nissan NV200 as the exclusive taxi for the city.
Standard interior features and passenger amenities include:
- Ample room for four passengers and their luggage, offering substantial improvements over current taxi models
- Transparent roof panel, presenting unique views of the city
- Breathable, antimicrobial, environment-friendly, durable and easy-to-clean seat fabric, simulating the look and feel of leather
- Proven 2.0L 4-cylinder powertrain, engineered to enhance the emission performance and fuel efficiency of the taxi fleet
- 150,000 mile powertrain warranty
- A low-annoyance horn with exterior lights that indicate when the vehicle is honking, so the horn is used less frequently
- Front and rear-seat occupant curtain airbags, and seat-mounted airbags for the front row
- Standard traction control and Vehicle Dynamic Control
- Sliding doors to lessen risk of pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists getting struck by doors opening unexpectedly
- Lights that alert other road users that taxi doors are opening