Nissan Motor Co. and NASA are undertaking a five-year research and development partnership to advance autonomous vehicle systems and prepare for commercial application of the technology.
Researchers from Nissan’s U.S. Silicon Valley Research Center and NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California, USA, will focus on autonomous drive systems, human-machine interface solutions, network-enabled applications, and software analysis and verification, all involving sophisticated hardware and software used in road and space applications.
Researchers from the two organizations will test a fleet of zero-emission autonomous vehicles at Ames to demonstrate proof-of-concept remote operation of autonomous vehicles for the transport of materials, goods, payloads and people. For NASA, these tests parallel the way it operates planetary rovers from a mission control center. The first vehicle of that fleet should be testing at the facility by the end of 2015.
Said Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Nissan Motor Co., “The work of NASA and Nissan – with one directed to space and the other directed to earth, is connected by similar challenges. The partnership will accelerate Nissan’s development of safe, secure and reliable autonomous drive technology that we will progressively introduce to consumers beginning in 2016 up to 2020.”
According to the terms of the partnership, NASA will benefit from Nissan’s shared expertise in innovative component technologies for autonomous vehicles, shared research to inform development of vehicular transport applications, and access to appropriate prototype systems and provision of test beds for robotic software.