EAST London, parts of which were once the preserve of that dear old ego-fueled phenomenon, Cortina man has become the showcase for a very different type of driving.
As part of its commitment to creating a zero-emission, zero-fatality future for mobility, Nissan chose the area to demonstrate its real-world testing of next generation autonomous drive prototype vehicles.
This is the first time that Nissan has revealed the capability of its latest autonomous drive technology on public roads in Europe. It has already conducted public-road testing in Japan and the United States to pursue easy-to-use autonomous drive technology in real life situations.
Participants in the passenger and rear seats were given the opportunity to experience the technology, which consists of millimeter wave radar, laser scanners, cameras, high-speed computer chips, and a specialized HMI (Human Machine Interface), just to name a few.
All of this helps allow the vehicle to operate in an autonomous manner on both highway and city/urban roads once the destination points are entered into the navigation system.
The London test follows recent announcements that both the updated Qashqai and the new Nissan LEAF, both coming in the near future, will be equipped with ProPILOT autonomous drive technology to enable single lane autonomous driving on motorways.
Meanwhile, last year in Japan, Nissan launched the Serena, its first model to be fitted with ProPILOT. In December ProPILOT autonomous drive in the new Nissan Serena won 2016-2017 Japan Car of the Year Innovation Award.
There are also plans for the technology to be introduced in the US and Chinese markets. A multi-lane autonomous driving technology will enable automatic lane changes on highways and is planned for introduction in 2018 while autonomous driving on urban roads and in intersections is planned for launch in 2020.
This is all leading to sea change in the way we use our cars and looking at the dates of introduction in the US and China it will all be with us sooner than we may have previously thought.
It is true that world is facing serious challenges such as climate change, traffic congestion, road fatalities and increasing air pollution. Nissan is committed to addressing these challenges by pledging tomake transportation safer, smarter, and more enjoyable, with the ultimate goal of achieving zero-emissions and zero-fatalities on the road.
Nissan says its 'Intelligent Mobility' policy is not about removing humans from the driving experience. Instead, it's about building a better future for Nissan customers where cars are their partners, and where drivers are more confident and more connected.
That being so I canot help but think that autonomous driving will still be a bitter pill for most of us to swallow.
This is not to say that the average British motorist does not care about the environment or reducing road casualties because the vast majority are caring and responsible. However, removing them from the driving seat may not be so easy.