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Nissan, eyeing fully self-driving cars, offers a glimpse of its new semi-autonomous Leaf – The Verge

Nissan says the next generation of its all-electric Leaf vehicles will feature the Japanese automaker’s most advanced driver assistance system yet. Nissan first revealed its plan to include the ProPilot technology, which allows single-lane autonomous driving, in the forthcoming version of the Leaf back at CES last January. Now the automaker is offering a sneak peek of its latest effort to take on Tesla in the race to sell more advanced, mass-market electric vehicles.

The glimpse of the interior, behind-the-steering-wheel display looks similar to Tesla’s Autopilot, which offers similar functionality through its Autosteer and Traffic Aware Cruise Control features. The technology will help with “control acceleration, braking, and steering during single-lane driving on the highway,” Nissan says. “In the coming years, Nissan’s ProPILOT technology will offer increasing levels of autonomy, with the system eventually able to navigate city intersections.”

Nissan also released this promotional video to tease the upcoming technology.

Nissan, along with its strategic partner Renault, is aiming to launch a fully autonomous ride-sharing service in the coming years, according to Reuters. Ogi Redzic, head of Nissan-Renault’s Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services division, told the newswire that the automaker alliance was hoping to debut this new enterprise “certainly within 10 years,” though not before 2020. “We think that the big opportunity for us is in automation, electric vehicles and ride-sharing and hailing together.” Redzic told Reuters.

Photo: Nissan

Until then, the next-gen Leaf will give consumers the clearest look at Nissan’s approach to autonomous features. Nissan is aiming to compete with General Motors’ Chevy Bolt and Tesla’s Model 3 by offering a mass-market electric vehicle for under $40,000. Next-gen prototypes have been spotted on the road for the last several months, with production expected in September for final deliveries by the end of the year. It is likely that it will launch first in Nissan’s home market of Japan.

Nissan isn’t the only automaker hoping to compete with Tesla in both the electric vehicle and autonomous driving space. Cadillac recently announced that its new CT6 sedans would come equipped with Super Cruise, GM’s “hands-free” driver assist system. Mercedes-Benz’s next-generation Drive Pilot system is expected to be released later this year in the luxury S-Class sedans.