Nissan has successfully equipped a version of its Leaf with a number of automatic driving assistance technologies, meaning that it can now legally make its way around Japanese roadways without the help of a human driver. The manufacturer hopes to market an entirely autonomous car by 2020.
This electronically assisted version of the Leaf is able to stay within in its lane, change lanes, pass slow or stopped vehicles and stop at red lights, making it entirely road-legal in Japan.
Carlos Ghosn, CEO and Chairman of Nissan, personally accepted the car's licence plate in a ceremony while highlighting the vehicle's importance. This autonomous Leaf prototype will serve as a laboratory for the development of a future autonomous car for serial production, slated to arrive by 2020. Nissan's goal is to provide a car that is as safe as it is environmentally friendly.
This is not the first time that an autonomous car has obtained authorization to roam the open road. In the US, California and Nevada, among a growing number of other states, have already established the rules for "self-driving" vehicles on their roads.
Watch a video on the autonomous Nissan Leaf.