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Nissan and NASA join forces for self-driving tech

Nissan control: Nissan has already developed a self-driving Leaf prototype, which uses a camera that can monitor 360 degrees around the car, but its partnership with NASA is expected to further refine and polish this concept.

Self-driving cars on the road by 2020 if Nissan and NASA alliance bears fruit

12 Jan 2015

NISSAN has announced a partnership with United States government agency NASA to bring its vision of releasing a fully automated city-capable car closer to fruition, with hopes the car will be on the market by 2020.

The five-year partnership will see researchers from both Nissan's Silicon Valley Research Centre and NASA's Ames Research Centre concentrating on refining existing and emerging technologies such as autonomous drive systems, human-machine interface solutions, network-enabled applications and software analysis and verification, both on a hardware and software level for use on roads and in space.

The result will be a prototype autonomous vehicle with both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure capable communications and advanced crash avoidance with driver warning technologies.

Nissan Motor Company president and CEO Carolos Ghosn said the relationship with NASA will be mutually beneficial to both parties.

“The work of NASA and Nissan – with one directed to space and the other directed to earth, is connected by similar challenges,” he said.

“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 will leverage Nissan's existing knowledge on autonomous vehicles for use in its future space programs, with tests on unmanned vehicles operating similarly to the way it conducts its planetary rover missions.

Ames Research Centre director S. Pete Worden said he was excited to be working with Nissan to develop future technologies.

“All of our potential topics of research collaboration with Nissan are areas in which Ames has strongly contributed to major NASA programs,” he said.

“We look forward to applying knowledge developed during this partnership toward future space and aeronautics endeavours.”

Both companies are currently working on a fleet of zero-emission autonomous vehicles to be tested at Ames, with the first of these vehicle expected to begin testing before the end of the year.

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