Nissan LEAF Record-Breaking GrandDrive
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  • Nissan LEAF GrandDrive Goes Further Than Ever
  • 06 February 2020

    Nissan LEAF GrandDrive Goes Further Than Ever


The Nissan LEAF has broken a UK record, to become the record holder of the longest self-driving car journey in the UK. This journey was plotted out to go from Bedfordshire to Sunderland. The LEAF was recorded to cover 230-miles, self-navigating the full journey across UK roads.

The autonomous car was fitted with GPS, radar, Lidar laser measurement technology and cameras. This system’s advanced positioning technology assesses the surrounding area and makes a decision about how the electric car should navigate the roads and obstacles that an everyday drive comes up against. Studies have shown a driver makes up to 160 driving decisions per mile. So an average driver on this 230-mile journey would have made 36,800 driving decisions, that’s a lot of concentration.

Over the 230-miles the autonomous electric Nissan LEAF self-drove from the Nissan technology centre based in Cranfield, Bedfordshire. Across a range of roads such as country lanes, motorways (specifically the M1) and drove alongside traffic. The journey ended at the UK Nissan manufacturers plant in Sunderland. The autonomous technology kicked in every time an electric car needed to stop, start or change lanes.

This record was undertaken as part of a £13.5-million HumanDrive project that is jointly funded by the British government and an industry consortium that is built up of 9-partners that include Nissan and Hitachi. This project has been set up to develop an autonomous driving vehicle that can replicate a human driving style. The LEAF has undergone other tests, these have been mainly set on test tracks.

Bob Bateman, the project manager for Nissan’s Europe technical centre, said: “The HumanDrive 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.”

You may be wondering if this car was just empty and only filled with masses of computer equipment. Well, there was a human input in this test. 2 engineers stayed inside the car throughout the 230-miles covered in this record-breaking journey. The test was a success as it achieved a 99% self-navigating drive. Only relying on a human input when pulled into 4 services across the route for checks and charging.

This technology is only going to progress as we move further towards the fully electric era of 2035. These self-navigation tests will be happening all around the world as each location will take a different set of driving skills. Would you be 100% comfortable letting your car drive you to the shops and back without any of your input?

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