Self-Driving Car Travels From Bedfordshire To Sunderland

Tue 11th Feb 2020

A huge step in self-driving travel has been taken after Nissan announced that a modified Leaf has made the longest ever autonomous journey on UK roads.

The groundbreaking drive took in complex roundabouts, motorways and even negotiated roads without markings, changing lanes merging into other traffic and stopping and starting at junctions.

Nicknamed the ‘Grand Drive’, the 230 mile journey from Nissan’s engineering centre near Milton Keynes to the factory in Sunderland received government backing and was incident free say Nissan.

A modified Nissan Leaf completed the record-breaking trip and though it carried two passengers, with engineers on board, they performed no actions in helping the car negotiate the long drive north. The journey took place in November of last year and is part of a wider ‘Human Drive’ project which is focused on autonomous driving solutions.

Speaking about the ‘Grand Drive’ Nissan said: “Both drivers were fully trained to conduct autonomous vehicle testing, with one behind the wheel and ready to take control if required, and the second supervising the car's control and monitoring systems. 

“The Grand Drive journey was also conducted with the knowledge and support of all relevant highway authorities.

“The HumanDrive project allowed us to develop an autonomous vehicle that can tackle challenges encountered on UK roads that are unique to this part of the world, such as complex roundabouts and high-speed country lanes with no road markings, white lines or kerbs.”