Silicon Valley Techies Envision Safer Roads With Autonomous Vehicles

The Nissan Research Center Silicon Valley opened almost six months ago to put the automotive group near world-class engineering talent and to stay ahead of trends shaping the way people interact with their cars.

“We have roboticists that joined us and we are working together on going to the next frontier which is not in space but is here on the road in California, and I think that is very exciting. We are getting a lot of interest from people around the states and even abroad,” said Maarten Sierhuis, Research Director Nissan Research Center Silicon Valley.

In less than six months, the facility’s research director, Dr. Maarten Sierhuis, says they’ve managed to build bonds with surrounding cities and cutting-edge companies.

“I don’t think technology is really the issue here. What we really need to do is really understand what autonomous vehicles are all about and what people want from autonomous vehicles,” said Sierhuis.

Nissan said Sierhuis and his team started the “Driving Innovation” speaker series to keep building a dialogue and growing partnerships. The video at the end of this article showcases the team’s third meet-up event and the discussion is all about autonomous cars.

Brad Templeton of robocars.com advises Google’s self-driving team and founded one of the world’s first dot-coms. He says autonomous cars will bring about a multi-trillion dollar world change.

“We are working, people all around the world and at Nissan are working to make a safer car, so that’s going to change a lot and save a lot of lives,” said Templeton.

All “Driving Innovation” talks, sponsored by Nissan Motor Company, involve an expert speaker like Templeton, a question and answer session, and from now on, a podcast posted for the public.

According to Nissan, Sierhuis plans for these talks to take place at least once every two months from now on. It’s the first automotive sponsored speaker series of its kind in the area. Sierhuis said the attendance speaks for itself in terms of support.

“We see this enormous enthusiasm from people in the Valley and from day one when we started we have 60 or 70 people show up for the meet up. So you know that everybody is interested in this and everybody wants to understand what we are doing and what everybody else is doing and together create this,” said Sierhuis.