The names of vehicles used by NASA in its research efforts roll off the tongue: Columbia, Discovery, Endeavour…Leaf? Maybe not, but the space agency and Nissan Motor Co. are partnering up to develop autonomous vehicle systems that could have applications on the ground and in space.
“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. “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.”
The five-year partnership will team researchers from Nissan’s U.S. Silicon Valley Research Center and NASA’s Ames Research Center in California who will test a fleet of zero-emission vehicles used to transport a variety of materials, goods, payloads and people. The tests are similar to the way NASA currently operates its planetary rovers remotely from a mission control center. (more…)