Japan: Nissan Motor in collaboration with DeNA has developed an autonomous mobility service, Easy Ride, which will begin a field test on March 5. Envisioned as a mobility service for anyone who wants to travel freely to their destination in an autonomous vehicle, Easy Ride will span about 4.5 kilometers in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture, between Nissan’s global headquarters and the Yokohama World Porters shopping center.
For efficient fleet operation and customers’ peace of mind, Nissan and DeNA have set up a remote monitoring center that uses the two companies’ advanced technologies. The two companies will also test Easy Ride’s unique service functions. Using a dedicated mobile app, passengers can input what they want to do via text or voice and choose from a list of recommended destinations. An in-car tablet screen will show selections of nearly 500 recommended places of interest and events in the vicinity.
Participants will be asked to complete a survey about their overall user experience, usage of content and coupons from local retailers and restaurants, and preferred pricing for the Easy Ride service. Nissan and DeNA will use the survey results as they continue to develop the offering, and for future field tests. Additionally, about 40 discount coupons for retailers and restaurants in the area are available for download on the participants’ own smartphones.
The field test will enable Nissan and DeNA to learn from the experience of operating the Easy Ride service trial with public participation, as both companies look toward future commercial endeavors. Nissan and DeNA will also work to develop service designs for driverless environments, expanded service routes, vehicle distribution logic, pick-up/drop-off processes and multilingual support. The companies aim to launch Easy Ride in a limited environment at first, and then introduce a full service in the early 2020s.