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Saturday, 10 January 2015

Nissan and NASA Combine Powers to Create Autonomous Vehicles for Earth and Beyond

Partnerships are nothing new in the auto
industry, but this one is both awesome
and unexpected. Roundandtrack.com says Nissan has announced
that it will work with NASA to jointly
develop fully autonomous vehicles by the
end of 2015. To the grocery store, and
beyond!
The Nissan-NASA partnership kicks off a
five-year research program to “advance
autonomous-vehicle systems and prepare
for commercial application of the
technology.” Engineers from Nissan’s
Silicon Valley Research Center will join
NASA researchers to test a fleet of zero-
emissions, self-driving vehicles at the
space agency’s Ames Research Center at
Moffett Field in California.
“The work of NASA and Nissan—with one
directed to space and the other directed
to earth, is connected by similar
challenges,” said Nissan honcho 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.”
What happens in 2020, you ask? Well,
that’s when Nissan hopes to introduce
autonomous cars that “have the ability to
navigate in nearly all situations, including
the most complex situation, city driving.”
No word as to whether “introduce” means
“offer for sale,” but doubtless that is the
end goal for Nissan.
NASA, for its part, enters into the
agreement with an eye toward putting
autonomous car tech to use in outer-
space transport of goods, materials, and
humans, as well as the remote-controlled
rovers the agency uses to explore far-off
astronomical bodies. Maybe soon you’ll
see NISMO and NASA-edition Nissans
sitting side-by-side at the dealership.
That’d be pretty cool—cooler even than
not having to drive a Leaf yourself.

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