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Nissan and NASA collaborate on autonomous vehicles

Nissan and NASA collaborate on autonomous vehicles

Nissan will be working with NASA to further develop its autonomous vehicle systems as part of a five-year research and development partnership, which was announced last week.

Researchers from Nissan's Silicon Valley Research Centre in the US and NASA's Ames Research Centre will focus on autonomous drive systems, human-machine interface solutions, network-enabled applications, and software analysis and verification. These all involve sophisticated hardware and software used in road and space applications.

Researchers from the two organisations will test a fleet of zero-emission autonomous vehicles at Ames to demonstrate that they are practical for the transport of materials, goods, payloads and people.

For NASA, these tests parallel the way it operates its space rovers from the mission control centre. The first vehicle of that fleet should be testing at the facility by the end of 2015.

Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of Nissan, said: "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."

Nissan has set 2020 as the timeframe for the introduction of autonomous drive vehicles that have the ability to navigate in nearly all situations, including the most complex situation, city driving.

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. They will also have access to appropriate prototype systems and provision of test beds for robotic software.

Director of Ames Research Center S. Pete Worden added: "All of our potential topics of research collaboration with Nissan are areas in which Ames has strongly contributed to major NASA programs. 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 endeavours."

"This partnership brings together the best and brightest of NASA and Nissan and validates our investments in Silicon Valley," added Ghosn.

by: Becca Chaplin