Nissan Motor Co., through its North American-based organization, and NASA today announced the formation of a five-year R&D partnership to advance autonomous vehicle systems and prepare for commercial application of the technology. Researchers from Nissan's U.S. Silicon Valley Research Center and NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, CA, will focus on autonomous drive systems, human-machine interface solutions, network-enabled applications, and software analysis and verification, all involving sophisticated hardware and software used in road and space applications.

Researchers from the two organizations will test a fleet of zero-emission autonomous vehicles at Ames to demonstrate proof-of-concept remote operation of autonomous vehicles for the transport of materials, goods, payloads and people. For NASA, these tests parallel the way it operates planetary rovers from a mission control center. The first vehicle of that fleet should be testing at the facility by the end of 2015.

Nissan has set 2020 as the timeframe for the introduction of autonomous drive vehicles that have the ability to navigate in nearly all situations, including the most complex situation, city driving.

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