Nissan comes out of no-where with Japanese robocars tests in March

When you talk about the world of autonomous vehicles, there are a few manufacturers which come to mind. Ford for instance, or perhaps GM, but outsider Nissan has entered the race to test out its own cars in March.

Nissan has been collaborating with mobile portal and e-commerce DeNA since January, with engineers currently developing a mobile app, test vehicle and remote monitoring system. And tests will begin in the Minatomirai district of Yokohama in Japan from March 5th, running through to the 18th.

The idea here is not to replace our cars with autonomous vehicles just yet, but to offer another option for those who want to use taxis and public transport instead. Easy Ride will be an autonomous vehicles service, which seems to be inspired by the likes of Uber and Lyft, while also leaning on the algorithms which power Google Map.

Potential customers will be able to download an app to hail the cabs, and any payments will also be made through this app. Customers can also use the app to select local destinations or sightseeing landmarks, should they be on holiday of course, or use the service as a ‘traditional’ taxi.

It hasn’t been mentioned by the team just yet, but there might just be an alternative revenue stream to be realized through this app. The Google Maps model is based on targeting and featured advertising models, which could be the aim here. For instance, if Easy Ride were to pick up tourists from a hotel in London, it might recommend Madame Tussauds higher up the list than The Tower of London, because of preferential advertising positioning.

Of course, this is only assumption for the moment, but why not? Any company worth their salt should be considering how to get out, or at least supplement, the manufacturing model with more services orientated revenue streams. Recurring revenue is where the fortunes lie after all. DeNA is also an eCommerce company as well, it has experience in monetizing digital service models.

The general public might not be ready for the shift to autonomous vehicles yet, while regulations and supporting industries such as insurance are also miles behind, but technology is progressing well. Mass penetration of autonomous vehicles won’t be around in the near future, but the realities of seeing them on the street in specific usecases might not be that far away.

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