Nissan’s US arm and NASA have announced a five-year partnership, aimed at developing technology for autonomous vehicles.
NASA believes self-driven cars for everyday consumers that will eventually be used on the world’s roads aren’t too far removed from projects they’ve already completed.
The space program has already developed planetary rovers controlled remotely from many miles away, facing obstacles like rocks and craters with no outside assistance available.
Researchers from each organisation will concentrate on “autonomous drive systems, human-machine interface solutions, network-enabled applications and software analysis and verification; all involving sophisticated hardware and software used in road and space applications.”
Put all of that together, and the pair hopes to be testing autonomous technology in vehicles as early as this year, at NASA’s Ames Research Centre.
The test vehicles will be ‘zero-emission’ and won’t simply be moving humans about, with autonomous transport vehicles for goods also on the cards.
For NASA, the program will assist in development of future rovers using technology already developed by Nissan but new to the space program.
“The work of NASA and Nissan, with one directed to space and the other directed to earth, is connected by similar challenges,” Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn, 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.”
Seems Nissan’s confidence in the original goal has been reinstated however, with the carmaker again declaring its plans to offer the technology to the public by 2020 in a statement this week.
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