When you think of the Nissan LEAF, towing probably isn’t the first thing that jumps to mind. However, Nissan has been testing a self driving LEAF model on their private testing site – not for production, but to make their production and shipping processes easier and more sustainable. These towing LEAFs are capable of towing three other LEAFs from the plant site to the shipping port, making about five trips a day.
Nissan hopes that using the LEAF in this way will reduce costs and boost efficiency, and wants to, eventually, have Nissan LEAF models that will drive themselves into storage. Using a combination of map data, laser scanners, and cameras, these autonomous cars are more adaptable and versatile than typical shuttle systems, which often require rails or magnetic tape for guidance.
Right now, the self driving LEAF is only being used to tow other models at its plant in Oppama, but the automaker hopes to spread the technology to other plants around the globe. So far, over 1,600 tests of the LEAF’s autonomous technology have been conducted, and using the tech in this fashion allows engineers to see practical uses for autonomous cars and improve bugs in a controlled setting.