Nissan and NASA to extend research collaboration


The U.S.-based subsidiary of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd, Nissan North America, Inc. have announced the extension of its collaboration with NASA Ames Research Centre in California’s Silicon Valley. This update is to build upon previous collaborative successes and will tackle a new scope of activities into 2019. The two companies will join forces to research and develop technology for future autonomous mobility services, including a working demonstration in Silicon Valley.

Last year in January, Nissan introduced a new technology platform for managing fleets of autonomous vehicles, Nissan Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM), which was developed from NASA technology. Maarten Sierhuis, director of the Nissan Research Centre in Silicon Valley says: “We built SAM from technology NASA developed for managing interplanetary rovers as they move around unpredictable landscapes.”

The continuation of Nissan’s collaboration with NASA will ensure that the success of SAM built on and developed further. This will include further testing the use of the technology for managing autonomous transportation services, ahead of public implementations.

“Our goal is to deploy SAM to help third-party organizations safely integrate a fleet of autonomous vehicles in unpredictable urban environments,” says Sierhuis and gives some examples like ride-hailing services, public transportation or logistics and delivery services. “The final stage of our existing research agreement with NASA will bring us closer to that goal and test SAM in a working demonstration on public streets,” adds Sierhuis.

Eugene Tu, centre director, NASA Ames says: “One of NASA’s strategic goals is to transfer the technology developed to advance NASA mission and program objectives to broader commercial and social applications.” He continues, noting that “Using NASA’s work in robotics to accelerate the deployment of autonomous mobility services is a perfect example of how the considerable work required to advance space exploration can also pioneer advances here on Earth.”