NASA and Nissan have entered a five-year agreement in order to work with each other to develop self-driving cars.
Nissan will be granted access to utilize NASA’s Ames Research Center to test the company’s self-driving zero-emission vehicles as part of Nissan’s initiative to have a self-driving test car on the road by the end of 2015 and in dealerships by 2020.
As part of the deal, NASA will get “expertise in innovative component technologies for autonomous vehicles, shared research to inform development of vehicular transport applications, and access to appropriate prototype systems and provision of test beds for robotic software.”
Researchers at Nissan’s Silicon Valley Research Centre and NASA’s Ames Research Centre at Moffat Field hope to develop self-driving, zero emission prototype cars within the year.
“The work of NASA and Nissan – with one directed to space and the other directed to earth, is connected by similar challenges,” said Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Nissan Motor Co. in an official statement. “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.”
Director of NASA’s Ames Research Center, S. Pete Wordenm 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.”
Obviously, many other automakers and even Google are working vigorously on autonomous drive technology but it would be hard to bet against a partnership between NASA, the most famous space organization in the world and Nissan, the company behind the world’s best-selling electric car.