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Nissan has announced it will commence on-road demonstrations of autonomous vehicles on London’s public roads from February.

A modified Nissan Leaf will allow government officials, along with technical and safety experts, to experience and test the technology in a real-world environment.

The program will be Nissan’s first demonstrations of autonomous technology on European public roads, and is the next step in the Japanese company’s ‘Intelligent Mobility‘ vision – which aims to transform how cars are driven, powered and integrated into wider society.

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Above: Nissan Qashqai

Last year the company confirmed an upcoming facelift for the popular Qashqai SUV – one of the top-selling vehicles in the UK – will be the first model in its European line-up to offer its semi-autonomous ‘ProPilot‘ technologies when it arrives later this year.

Nissan’s ProPilot suite allows the vehicle to drive autonomously and safely in a single lane in heavy traffic conditions on highways. The next-generation Leaf EV has also been confirmed to offer the technology.

“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,” said Greg Clark, UK secretary business and energy.

“We want to see centers, 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.”

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Above: Nissan Leaf

Nissan joins Volvo in the London autonomous trial club, with the Swedish manufacturer announcing last May it would be putting regular members of the public in autonomous versions of its vehicles – including the XC90 SUV – as part of a program dubbed ‘Drive Me London‘ starting sometime this year.

Volvo also pioneered the trialling of autonomous technologies in the southern hemisphere as well, taking to the roads of Adelaide in a pair of autonomous XC90s as part of the Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI) last March.

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