Nissan and NASA Aim to Take Autonomous Vehicle Development Out of this World

Assuming Nissan meets its goal to launch production autonomous-capable vehicles by 2020, if it ever boasts of having space-age technology, it will be more than hyperbole.

Actually it would follow what was announced today as a five-year partnership between Nissan’s Silicon Valley Research Center and NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffet Field, Calif. to develop autonomous vehicle systems.

Nissan’s part of the deal will involve technology for its road-going vehicles. NASA will drive a bit farther away – such as on Mars.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn speaks with NASA’s Ames Research Center director S. Pete Worden at the automaker’s Silicon Valley research center.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn speaks with NASA’s Ames Research Center director S. Pete Worden at the automaker’s Silicon Valley research center.

The collaboration will further refine autonomous drive systems, human-machine interface solutions, network-enabled applications, and software analysis and verification.

The work will involve sophisticated hardware and software used in road and space applications, not that both concerns have not already developed working technology to date – they have.

“All of our potential topics of research collaboration with Nissan are areas in which Ames has strongly contributed to major NASA programs,” said director of Ames Research Center, S. Pete Worden. “Ames developed Mars rover planning software, robots onboard the International Space Station and Next Generation air traffic management systems to name a few. We look forward to applying knowledge developed during this partnership toward future space and aeronautics endeavors.”

SEE ALSO: US Could Get Nissan’s First Production Autonomous Cars In 2020

The two organizations will also test zero-emission autonomous vehicles at Ames to demonstrate proof-of-concept remote operation for the transport of materials, goods, payloads and people.

IMG_0856

“The work of NASA and Nissan – with one directed to space and the other directed to earth, is connected by similar challenges,” said Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Nissan Motor Co. “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.”

SEE ALSO: Japan’s Prime Minister Rides Along In First Autonomous Public Drive

Under the partnership, NASA will benefit from Nissan’s expertise in autonomous vehicle component technologies, research to inform development of vehicular transport applications, and will have access to prototype systems and test beds for robotic software.