Nissan's 'incredible achievement' as driverless car safely travels 230 miles to Washington

A self-driving Nissan car has completed a journey from Cranfield in Bedfordshire to Sunderland; the longest trip ever made by an autonomous vehicle in the UK.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 2:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 11:53 am

As part of a project called HumanDrive, the electric Nissan Leaf travelled 230 miles from the car giant’s technical centre to its Washington factory.

It negotiated motorways, roundabouts, country lanes with no road markings, junctions and anything that a human driver would have to deal with.

It changed lanes, merged, stopped and started whenever necessary; although it carried two human passengers who were ready to take the controls if necessary.

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Nissan's Leaf has completed the UK’s longest and most complex autonomous car journey - self-navigating itself 230 miles from Bedfordshire to Sunderland.

The Leaf uses GPS, radar, laser scanning and camera technology to build up a perception of the world around it.

It then makes decisions about how to navigate the roads and obstacles on a journey.

The project, led by Nissan as part of a consortium, is partly government-funded project and it has taken 30 months to get to this stage.

The global market for self-driving vehicles is expected to be worth many billions of pounds in the coming years.

The Nissan Leaf did everything that would be expected from a human driver.

Business Minister, Nadhim Zahawi said: “Safely completing the longest autonomous drive in Britain is an incredible achievement for Nissan and the HumanDrive consortium, and a huge step towards the rollout of driverless cars on UK streets.

“This project is a shining example of how the automotive industry, working with government, can drive forward technology to benefit people’s mobility, while helping to slash carbon emissions.”

Bob Bateman, project manager for Nissan Technical Centre, Europe, said: “The HumanDrive project allowed us to develop an autonomous vehicle that can tackle challenges encountered on UK roads that are unique to this part of the world, such as complex roundabouts and high-speed country lanes with no road markings, white lines or kerbs.”

David Moss, senior vice president for research & development for Nissan Europe, said: “Nissan’s intelligent mobility vision is to develop autonomous drive technologies for use in all of our cars in any area of the world.

“The door is now open to build on this successful UK research project, as we move towards a future which is more autonomous, more electric, and more connected.”