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Nissan begins car-sharing

Nissan Motor Co and the City of Yokohama are introducing a round-trip car sharing service featuring the Nissan New Mobility Concept, an ultra-compact electric vehicle.|Nissan Motor Co and the City of Yokohama are introducing a round-trip car sharing service featuring the Nissan New Mobility Concept, an ultra-compact electric vehicle.

The service, “Choimobi Yokohama,” enables users who register online to pick up and return cars in 14 locations around Yokohama Station. Cars can be reserved 30 minutes in advance and can be driven within the city.

The service costs 250 yen per 15 minutes plus a 200 yen basic charge, with a maximum daily charge of 3,000 yen. Users need a Japanese driver’s license, a smartphone and a Japan-issued credit card. Registration is available on the Choimobi website: https://nissan-rentacar.com/choimobi-yokohama/.

Nissan and the City of Yokohama previously conducted a two-year trial of Japan’s first one-way car sharing service using ultra-compact electric vehicles, starting in October 2013. The aim was to encourage low-emission transport options, improve the quality of transportation and promote tourism. In October 2015, the partnership began renting cars to local tour operators and businesses.

The new round-trip service is meant to further promote ultra-compact mobility and build a sustainable business model through public-private cooperation. The service will also include guided tours around central Yokohama and long-term car rentals for businesses.

Nissan and the City of Yokohama will continue usability and feasability studies by encouraging various local entities to join the program.

As the leader in zero-emission mobility, Nissan continues to seek ways to harness ultra-compact electric vehicles to improve transportation and the quality of life.

Outline of service:

  1. Implementing party: Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
    Operator: Nissan Car Rental Solution Co., Ltd.
    (Car sharing system developer: Sage Co., Ltd.)
  2. Project duration: March 17, 2017, to March 2019
  3. Cars: 25 Nissan New Mobility Concept vehicles
  4. Pick-up/drop-off locations (car stations): 14 locations around Yokohama Station (25 cars): Bay Quarter Yokohama (1), Yokohama Mitsui Building (2), Nissan Global Headquarters (3), Yokohama i-Mark Place (4), MinatoMirai Grand Central Tower (5), Yokohama Museum of Art (6), Mark IS Minatomirai (7), Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu (8), Yokohama Landmark Tower (9), Colette Mare (10), Osanbashi Yokohama International Passenger Terminal (11), Yokohama City Hall (12), Yamashita Park parking lot (13), Yokohama City Vocational Development Center (14).
  5. Free private parking spaces: 12 locations (23 cars)
  6. Driving area: Within the city of Yokohama. The vehicles are restricted from driving on expressways and highways (with speed limits exceeding 60km/h).
  7. Usage charge: 200 JPY (basic charge) + 250 JPY/15 minutes; maximum charge 3,000 JPY/day.
  8. To use the service, enroll through the Choimobi website using a registered means of identification (valid Japan driver’s license, FeliCa-embedded transport IC card or smartphone). Registrants are required to watch a video featuring operating instructions and information on driving safety. Users must also have a valid Japanese driver’s license (for regular-size cars), a smartphone with e-mail, and a Japan-issued credit card. Additional details are available online.

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Two-thirds of adults ready for cars that drive themselves

The latest Looking Further with Ford Trends Report reveals that behaviour is changing across key areas of our lives

Self-driving cars are a hot topic today, but if you had to choose, would you rather your children ride in an autonomous vehicle or drive with a stranger? You may be surprised to learn that 67 per cent of adults globally would opt for the self-driving car.

That insight is one of many revealed in the 2019 Looking Further with Ford Trend Report, released last week. The report takes a deep look into the drivers of behavioural change, specifically uncovering the dynamic relationships consumers have with the shifting landscape of technology.

Change is not always easy, particularly when it is driven by forces beyond our control. In a global survey of 14 countries, Ford’s research revealed that 87 per cent of adults believe technology is the biggest driver of change. And while 79 per cent of adults maintain that technology is a force for good, there are large segments of the population that have significant concerns. Some are afraid of artificial intelligence (AI). Others fear the impact of technology on our emotional wellbeing.

“Individually and collectively, these behavioural changes can take us from feeling helpless to feeling empowered, and unleash a world of wonder, hope and progress,” says Kuda Takura, smart mobility specialist at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “At Ford we are deeply focused on human-centric design and are committed to finding mobility solutions that help improve the lives of consumers and their communities. In the context of change, we have to protect what we consider most valuable – having a trusted relationship with our customers. So, we are always deliberate and thoughtful about how we navigate change.”

Key insights from Ford’s 7th annual Trends Report:

Almost half of people around the world believe that fear drives change
Seven in 10 say that they are energised by change
87 per cent agree that technology is the biggest driver of today’s change
Eight in 10 citizens believe that technology is a force for good
45 per cent of adults globally report that they envy people who can disconnect from their devices
Seven out of 10 consumers agree that we should have a mandatory time-out from our devices

Click here to read more about the seven trends for 2019.

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At last, cars talk to traffic lights to catch ‘green wave’

By ANDRE HAINZLMAIER, head of development of apps, connected services and smart city at Audi.

Stop-and-go traffic in cities is annoying. By contrast, we are pleased when we have a “green wave” – but we catch them far too seldom, unfortunately. With the Traffic Light Information function, drivers are more in control. They drive more efficiently and are more relaxed because they know 250 meters ahead of a traffic light whether they will catch it on green. In the future, anonymized data from our cars can help to switch traffic lights in cities to better phases and to optimise the traffic flow.

In the USA, Audi customers have been using the “Time-to-Green” function for two years: if the driver will reach the lights on red, a countdown in the Audi virtual cockpit or head-up display counts the seconds to the next green phase. This service is now available at more than 5,000 intersections in the USA, for example in cities like Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland and Washington D.C. In the US capital alone, about 1,000 intersections are linked to the Traffic Light Information function.

Since February, Audi has offered a further function in North America. The purpose of this is especially to enable driving on the “green wave”. “Green Light Optimized Speed Advisory” (GLOSA) shows to the driver in the ideal speed for reaching the next traffic light on green.

Both Time-to-Green and GLOSA will be activated for the start of operation in Ingolstadt in selected Audi models. These include all Audi e-tron models and the A4, A6, A7, A8, Q3, Q7 and Q8 to be produced from mid-July (“model year 2020”). The prerequisite is the “Audi connect Navigation & Infotainment” package and the optional “camera-based traffic sign recognition”.

Why is this function becoming available in Europe two years later than in the USA? 

The challenges for the serial introduction of the service are much greater here than, for example, in the USA, where urban traffic light systems were planned over a large area and uniformly. In Europe, by contrast, the traffic infrastructure has developed more locally and decentrally – with a great variety of traffic technology. How quickly other cities are connected to this technology depends above all on whether data standards and interfaces get established and cities digitalise their traffic lights.

On this project, Audi is working with Traffic Technology Services (TTS). TTS prepares the raw data from city traffic management centres and transmits them to the Audi servers. From here, the information reaches the car via a fast Internet connection.

Audi is working to offer Traffic Light Information in further cities in Germany, Europe, Canada and the USA in the coming years. In the large east Chinese city of Wuxi, Audi and partners are testing networks between cars and traffic light systems in the context of a development project.

In future, Audi customers may be able to benefit from additional functions, for example when “green waves” are incorporated into the ideal route planning. It is also conceivable that Audi e-tron models, when cruising up to a red traffic light, will make increased used of braking energy in order to charge their batteries. Coupled with predictive adaptive cruise control (pACC), the cars could even brake automatically at red lights.

In the long term, urban traffic will benefit. When cars send anonymised data to the city, for example, traffic signals could operate more flexibly. Every driver knows the following situation: in the evening you wait at a red light – while no other car is to be seen far and wide. Networked traffic lights would then react according to demand. Drivers of other automotive brands will also profit from the development work that Audi is carrying out with Traffic Light Information – good news for cities, which are dependent on the anonymised data of large fleets to achieve the most efficient traffic management.

In future, V2I technologies like Traffic Light Information will facilitate automated driving. 

A city is one of the most complex environments for an autonomous car. Nevertheless, the vehicle has to be able to handle the situation, even in rain and snow. Data exchange with the traffic infrastructure can be highly relevant here. 

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