Japanese automaker Nissan has said it will start autonomous car tests in London next month, as it looks to branch out its self-driving program to European roads.
A modified version of the Nissan Leaf, the company’s compact electric car, will be tested on public roads in the UK’s capital. It comes a few months after Britain legalized self-driving cars on public roads, putting it ahead of other European governments.
Nissan recently said it would build two new models in Britain, despite concerns over Brexit. The announcement was greeted by politicians and Brexiteers as confirmation that Britain is still an excellent place to do business, and this latest move will no doubt add fuel to the fire.
“With future models secured and cutting-edge innovation being developed right here in the UK, we’re looking forward to a strong future of designing, engineering and manufacturing in the country for customers right across the world,” said Nissan Europe Chairman Paul Willcox to Reuters.
Nissan looking at highway self-driving this year
The carmaker has plans to add Level 3 autonomous functionality—which lets the car take control on highways—to some of its models this year. Beyond that, the company wants to create a robust alliance of “tech, e-commerce, ride-hailing, and social partners” to build the next generation driving experience, according to Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn.
Britain continues to be a country on the shortlist for places to test autonomous cars, although German manufacturers continue to prefer their home country or the U.S. for self-driving tests. Innovate UK, a government-backed fund, is also giving more auto startups the chance to test autonomous functionality in the UK.