Nissan aims driverless ride-beating service to hold startup competition


TOKYO: Nissan Motor Co Ltd said that it has planned to launch driverless ride-hailing and ride-sharing services in coming years, as the automaker looks beyond making and selling cars to outlast an industry being quickly altered by new services.

Automakers are grasping expertise in automated driving functions for mass-market cars to develop mobility services, as they compete with tech firms such as Alphabet Inc and Uber Technologies Inc in the fast-growing “pay-per-ride” market which threatens to strike demand for car ownership.

Head of Nissan-Renault’s Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services division, Ogi Redzic said that the alliance would begin self-driving services based on its electric cars “certainly within 10 years,” though not likely before 2020.

Redzic said in an interview, “We think that the big opportunity for us is in automation, electric vehicles and ride-sharing and hailing together.”

Nissan and Renault SA join a small group of automakers pointing to enter the ride-hailing market, which Goldman Sachs last month evaluate would grow eightfold by 2030 to be five times the size of the taxi market.

German rival BMW AG is also testing autonomous vehicles for use in ride-hailing services, while Uber has been developing self-driving technology.

Redzic told that the Japanese and French partners tested self-driving vehicles, and that any service would run on pre-mapped courses with predetermined pick-up and drop-off points.

The two automakers are developing the system with Japanese game software maker DeNA Co Ltd and French public transport operator Transdev SA.

U.S. tech firm nuTonomy Inc and ride services company Lyft Inc, which counts General Motors Co as a major shareholder, this month declared that they would begin controlling an autonomous vehicle ride-hailing service in Boston.

Redzic said to market a self-driving service, regulations need to change to allow driverless cars on roads.

At the moment, most global jurisdictions do not expressly authorize vehicles to operate on regular roads without a driver.

He said, “It doesn’t just depend on us, to become fully driverless you need laws to change.”

Source: Reuters

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