NASA and Nissan Team Up To Build Autonomous Cars For Earth… and Other Planets
How successful has NASA been in its hunt for signs of life on Mars, and was it worth spending billions of dollars on its exploration in another debate? But NASA isn’t giving up on Mars or other planets anytime soon and is now joining forces with Nissan to build some really special cars.
These won’t be your everyday vehicles, no sir!
These cars will not only work in our city streets but also distant planets, suitable for travel. What’s more amazing is that we won’t even have to drive them. Yes! they will be self-driving vehicles. Convenience is what humans look for and I guess it’ll be really convenient to not actually drive, while driving to school or office. Wonders of technology my friend!
On Thursday, NASA and Nissan announced their 5-year partnership to develop the automated cars of the future. During this time, engineers of the automaker and the space agency will work together on the said purpose.
Most of the R&D will take place in Silicon Valley, that could yield certain technologies to help build the passenger robo-car.
“This is a perfect blend of the capability of what the robotics folks at NASA Ames hav
e and the autonomy that we bring,” says Maarten Sierhuis, the director of Nissan’s Silicon Valley research center, who also spent ten years as a NASA senior scientist. “The timing is right because we are ready to start testing the ability” to autonomously navigate city streets.
The automaker hopes to bring these autonomous cars to the market by 2020. Which is possible as NASA engineers are able to control a rover million of miles away on Mars, how hard can it be for them to develop a self-driving car on Earth?
“When we talk about autonomous drive, we’re transforming the relationship between the driver and the car from a master to slave, to a kind of partner,” Sierhuis says. “It’s a fundamental change that drivers must get used to, and a good human machine interface will be key to making that happen.”
Nissan is not a stranger to this concept as the automaker is already testing cars that navigate urban environments on their own. Given the countless variables in cities like heavy traffic, pedestrians, cyclists, construction and many others, “navigation” is the biggest hurdle in the development of such vehicles. It will be interesting to see how both the NASA and Nissan overcome this obstacle.