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Automaker Nissan and tech firm DeNA will test out a self-driving taxi service in Japan.

Nissan said Friday it would conduct a field test of the service, called Easy Ride, on March 5, in the Minatomirai district of Yokohama, along a set route of about 4.5 kilometers.

The cars will contain a tablet that shows a list of recommended destinations and the test participants can communicate through text or voice with Easy Ride’s mobile app to choose where they want to go.

The development marks a challenge from a major auto manufacturer to ride-hailing upstarts like Uber that have transformed the private vehicle hire industry.

Nissan and DeNA look to launch their autonomous taxi service to the wider public in the early 2020s. Prior to a wider release, Nissan said both firms would look to develop expanded service routes and the provision of support for multiple languages.



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