Nissan’s North American division has entered into a five-year research and development partnership with NASA to develop autonomous vehicles for commercial application.
The R&D effort will take place at NASA’s Ames Research Center where researchers from both the organisations will work on the development of autonomous drive systems, network-enabled applications, human-machine interface solutions, and software analysis and verification.
According to reports, the company is expected to develop and test zero-emission autonomous cars which could be a modified version of the exisiting Nissan electric vehicle, Leaf.
According to Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, the partnership will help Nissan to develop safe, secure and reliable autonomous drive technologies that will be introduced to consumers by 2020.
With the initiative, Nissan will be able to learn more about remote operating vehicles from NASA, due to the space agency’s eperience with planetary rovers, and NASA will be able to learn from Nissan about navigation through tough terrain, reported Wired.
Ames Research Center director S. Pete Worden said: "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 endeavors."