Nissan Future Lab, the Japanese brand’s advanced research department, is studying mobility scenarios in the years to come through a series of real-world tests. Conveniently called “Living Labs,” it aims to provide the Nissan with data from several users to develop future transportation needs.
Nissan’s Living Labs is different from traditional research methods as it heavily depends on external partners, such as the San Francisco-based Scoot Networks. Consequently, user behaviors will play a big role in this research.
Its main focus is on vehicle ownership structures, changing marketplace, and new uses for electric vehicles. This is inspired by quick developments in electric and autonomous driving, which is where the future of technology lies.
Rachel Nguyen, executive director of Nissan Future Labs, explains that working within the Living Labs framework allows them to experiment out in the marketplace.
By combining our hardware with outside software, services and systems into collaborative beta tests, Nissan has the opportunity to develop new products and service offerings that fit in the new mobility economy,” she added.
For vehicle ownership structures, Nissan is looking at different sized and packaged vehicle solutions. In line to this, they launched its first Living Labs with Scoot Networks, bringing 10 Nissan New Mobility Concept (NNMC) vehicles to San Francisco.
This car—about the size of a golf cart—is available for rent using the Scoot app sharing platform. The users’ mobility choices for short distance trips and the role of electric vehicles in shared transportation options are the data that they gathered in this scenario.
Furthermore, the Scoots Living Labs also ushered data on vehicle distribution to help Nissan understand the distance travelled from the origin, popular origin points, and other user behaviors. With this, the shared vehicle technology presents ways to develop vehicle technology through new mobility markets and business needs.
In addition to mentioned studies above, Nissan is also looking at new uses for electric vehicles, particularly vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. For starters, V2G is a technological concept that aims at producing clean and efficient electric-powered transportation by letting electric vehicles to power and be powered by the grid.
Nissan has been participating in a large V2G program with the U.S Air Force since 2014, with a fleet of modified LEAF electric vehicles entering the project. The goal was to balance the power in the grid, which was attained through absorbing excess power from it, then giving back if there’s a high energy demand.
Per Nguyen, the Nissan Future Lab team is using Living Labs to help them better understand the benefits of V2G technology for individual electric vehicle consumers and how it fits into their mobility lifestyle in the future.
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