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Nissan launches autonomous taxi field test in Japan

The pilot program is initially limited to a set route, traveling 4.5 km from Nissan's global headquarters to the Yokohama World Porters shopping center.

Nissan has announced plans to begin an autonomous taxi field test in Japan.

Known as Easy Ride, the "robo-vehicle mobility service" will initially be limited to a single 4.5-kilometer route between Nissan's global headquarters and the Yokohama World Porters shopping center. The autonomous vehicles will be remotely monitored by the automaker and partner DeNA.

A dedicated mobile app will eventually allow passengers to input where they want to go via text or voice, or pick from a list of nearly 500 recommended places of interest or events in the local area. The app also includes discount coupons from retailers and restaurants.

Nissan and DeNA will survey participants in the pilot program to gain feedback about the user experience, interest in third-party content and acceptable pricing.

The companies intend to launch Easy Ride in a "limited environment" before rolling out full service in the early 2020s.