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Nissan completes UK's longest driverless car trip

By Ramla Soni

The Nissan LEAF car travelled the 370km from Cranfield, southern England, to its Sunderland factory in the north east through complex conditions

A Nissan driverless car has completed a 230-mile journey autonomously in the UK, the longest and most complex such trip in the country.

The Nissan LEAF car travelled the 370km from the Japanese carmaker’s European technical centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, southern England, to its Sunderland factory in the north east, alongside conventional road users.

It included junctions, roundabouts, motorways and roads with no or minimal markings. The car used advanced positioning technology aided by GPS, radar and light detection and ranging equipment.

“The 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,” said Nissan Technical Centre project manager Bob Bateman.

The project, known as HumanDrive and led by Nissan as part of a consortium, also received government funding.

Nissan has previously said Britain’s approach to testing autonomous vehicles helped it choose London for its first European tests in 2017 when a driverless vehicle travelled up to 50 miles per hour.

The UK estimates the autonomous vehicle industry to be worth around £900 billion worldwide in 2035.

Last month Renault and Nissan denied reports that they are heading for a break up. The partnership has been under strain ever since Carlos Ghosn’s arrest in November 2018.

In a statement Nissan said it was “in no way considering dissolving the alliance", which includes Mitsubishi Motors.

FURTHER READING: Uber agrees electric Nissan deal for UK drivers

FURTHER READING: Renault and Nissan deny break-up is coming

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