Guided by cameras and radars, and negotiating traffic and roundabouts, a self-driving Nissan car took to the streets of London on Monday for the Japanese company's first European tests of an autonomous vehicle. Costas Pitas reports.
Backseat driving is getting a new meaning. Nissan is roadtesting its self-driving car in Europe for the very first time. And we've been given invited to be their guinea pigs (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CAR CORRESPONDENT, COSTAS PITAS SAYING: "Nissan are testing one of their autonomous cars and and we'll get a ride in one of these models, which is using cameras, sensors and radars to guide us through London's streets, interacting with the busy traffic." Already tested in Tokyo and Silicon Valley. This LEAF model flips from conventional to autonomous mode at the touch of a button. From there, on in it's a case of trusting the kit in front of you. During the trial, It reached speeds of up to 50 miles per hour, And it's no coincidence that London is a staging centre. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR OF NISSAN RESEARCH CENTER, MAARTEN SIERHUIS SAYING: "It's not everywhere in Europe that you can just go and drive on the road, we have to have partners that help us create the maps and system and London and the UK is an important market for Nissan." Add to that the British government openly courting this new sector. Recently announcing insurance changes to allow one product coverage for motorists driving conventionally AND in autonomous mode. They think it's a market that could be worth 1.12 trillion dollars by 2025. But Nissan aren't the only ones putting their foot on the gas. Global automakers are racing to catch up self-driving frontrunners Google and Tesla. The future of transport, could be turning a pivotal corner.