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Nissan to Launch Self-Driving Taxi Service in Japan come 2027

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Nissan self-driving taxi service
A self-driving car

Nissan Corporation has disclosed plans to introduce a self-driving taxi service in Japan, with trials set to begin in Yokohama in April 2027. The initiative aims to address mobility challenges in local communities, including driver shortages due to an ageing population.

In collaboration with local authorities and transport operators, Nissan plans to deploy minivans to offer a range of new services facilitating free movement in Yokohama. This announcement aligned with the Japanese government’s commitment to accelerating autonomous technology, addressing labour shortages, and catering to the needs of an ageing population.

The move followed the trend in the automotive industry, with competitors like Honda, General Motors, and Toyota also venturing into the realm of autonomous ride services. In partnership with GM and Cruise, Honda plans to launch a driverless ride service in Japan by early 2026. On the other hand, Toyota is gearing up for a pilot project in Tokyo’s Odaiba area from July 2025, expanding to central Tokyo shortly after.

Starting April 2027, Nissan plans to commence Level Four autonomous driving services in three or four municipalities in Japan, including rural areas. Leading up to this initiative, the company will conduct trials in Yokohama using up to 20 remodelled Serena minivans. The trial period will extend over the coming years.

Autonomous vehicles, which used to belong to the imagination, have become a pleasant reality. In anticipation of this new era, many governments are implementing proactive legal frameworks to regulate autonomous vehicles effectively.

Addressing concerns about liability in autonomous vehicles, the UK government introduced the Automated Vehicles Bill in November 2023. Under this legislation, owners of self-driving cars will not be held responsible for accidents that occur in autonomous mode. Instead, the manufacturer will bear legal liability, ensuring fair accountability during self-driving vehicle crashes.

In Dubai, a law firm has set out a plan to handle cases related to AI and self-driving accidents. This initiative is particularly relevant as Dubai aims to achieve 25% of all journeys through autonomous means by 2030. Dubai is currently testing self-driving taxis on its roads.

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