Japanese car brand will allow regulators and government officials to sample its Autopilot driverless tech

Nissan will start autonomous vehicle demonstrations in Britain next month, inviting people to sample its Autopilot technology first hand in order to show the system's capabilities.

The Japanese car maker will first allow leading names in the industry, including government officials and technical and safety experts, to ride in autonomous versions of its Leaf electric car in London next month. It hopes this will help to increase support for the technology.

Nissan says these will be the first demonstrations of its autonomous drive technology on public roads in Europe. They come as part of its wider Intelligent Mobility plans.

Nissan Europe chairman Paul Willcox said: “Innovation and ingenuity is at the heart of the Nissan brand and its people. With future models secured and cutting-edge innovation being developed right here in the UK, we’re looking forward to a strong future of designing, engineering and manufacturing in the country for customers right across the world.”

The UK’s business and energy secretary Greg Clark added: "Government and industry are working together to build on our world class reputation for excellence as a leading location for automotive R&D and manufacturing. We want to see centres, like Nissan's here in Cranfield, continue to develop, making us a world leader in the development and testing of auto technology so we can anchor the next generation of vehicle manufacturing and its supply chain here in the UK."

Nissan will launch a facelifted Qashqai with its latest Propilot technology this year, and the next-generation Leaf will arrive in 2018 with its own Propilot system.

The Qashqai’s system was previewed in a Japanese model called the Serena late last year, which uses Propilot technology that can control the accelerator, brakes and steering using data obtained through a mono camera, which is more sensitive than a normal colour camera. The camera can see lane markings and other vehicles in three-dimensional depth.

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