Nissan Motor Co. said Wednesday it plans to offer mobility services using Level 4 self-driving vehicles from fiscal 2027 in Japan, including rural areas where providing financially sustainable public transportation is becoming increasingly difficult.

The Japanese automaker will begin a trial service in Yokohama, where the company is based, during the fiscal year from April and expand it in stages using 20 or so vehicles before the start of commercial services, it said.

In the trials, Nissan will use Serena minivans equipped with self-driving technologies, with a driver aboard to respond to any emergencies. Those wishing to use the service will be able to reserve in advance through a smartphone app.

Photo taken in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Feb. 28, 2024, shows a Nissan Motor Co. vehicle equipped with autonomous driving technology. (Kyodo)

"We want to support Japan's future mobility needs using Japanese technologies. We are aiming for sustainable services," Kazuhiro Doi, vice president of research, told reporters.

Honda Motor Co. and General Motors Co. said in October they will launch a driverless taxi service joint venture that will be operational by early 2026 in Tokyo.

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