Autonomous cars are a field almost every car manufacturer is looking into. Not everyone has the chance to hook up with NASA to do so, though.
Nissan announced that its North American operations and NASA have formed a five-year R&D partnership to develop autonomous vehicle systems and prepare for their commercial implementation.
According to the statement, researchers from both the Japanese automaker and the US Space Agency will be testing a fleet of Zero Emission Vehicles at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffet Field, California.
Their goal is to demonstrate fool-proof remote operation vehicles that will be used for the transportation of not just people but also goods, payloads and materials. Testing of the first vehicle is scheduled to commence by the end of the year.
“The work of NASA and Nissan, with one directed to space and the other to earth, is connected by similar challenges”, said Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn. “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.”
NASA plans to benefit from Nissan’s research in innovative component technologies for autonomous vehicles and S. Pete Worden, director of the Ames Research Center, believes that this facility is ideal for the project.
“All of our potential topics of collaboration with Nissan are areas in which Ames has strongly contributed to NASA programs”, he commented. “Ames developed Mars rover planning software, robots onboard the International Space Station and Next Generation air traffic management systems, to name a few.”