Nissan And NASA Team Up To Make Autonomous Driving A Real Thing – This Year


Talk of future autonomous driving is all the rage these days amongst the automakers.   Everyone is getting into it, but few have actually give firm dates on when (and how) that will become a reality.

Autonomous LEAF Visits New Home At NASA’s Ames Research Center

Autonomous LEAF Visits New Home At NASA’s Ames Research Center

Nissan is not one of those automakers.

For Nissan, they have joined together with NASA and will have an autonomous vehicle delivering “materials, goods, payloads and people” at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California by year’s end.  So we aren’t talking about just zipping around on the highway’s here either.

In fact Nissan and NASA have joined up on a five-year mission to boldly go where no man has gone before “research and development partnership to advance autonomous vehicle systems and prepare for commercial application of the technology.” 

Eventually a fleet of autonomous vehicles will be validating proof-of-concept at the facility.

Considering Nissan will need various US government agencies, including the NHSTA to loosen regulations surrounding autonomous driving, this governmental agency cooperation is probably a good starting point for the company.

As for when the autonomous technology hits the public, Nissan says they will begin integrating it next year, with 2020 set as the introduction of “autonomous drive vehicles that have the ability to navigate in nearly all situations, including the most complex situation, city driving.”

One Of The Executives Enjoys The Sun, The Other Works In The Vacuum Of Space

One Of These Executives Is The CEO Of Three Major Automakers And Enjoys The Sun, The Other Works In The Vacuum Of Space

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan said of the partnership:

“The work of NASA and Nissan – with one directed to space and the other directed to earth, is connected by similar challenges. 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,” while later adding, “this partnership brings together the best and brightest of NASA and Nissan and validates our investments in Silicon Valley.”

NASA says they will benefit from Nissan’s “shared expertise in innovative component technologies for autonomous vehicles” as well as “shared research to inform development of vehicular transport applications, and access to appropriate prototype systems and provision of test beds for robotic software.”

The Current Autonomous Drive Nissan Leaf Showing Off Outside Nissan's Research center in Silicon Valley.

The Current Autonomous Drive Nissan Leaf Showing Off Outside Nissan’s Research center in Silicon Valley.

The Director of the Ames Research Center, S. Pete Worden was on had to greet the Nissan CEO, and also made a statement:

“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.”

"Alright, Now Lets Get One Of The Two Of You Talking.  Good.  Now Do Some Pointing. Perfect!"

“Alright, Now Lets Get One Of The Two Of You Talking. Good! Now Do Some Hand Gesturing. Perfect!”

Autonomous LEAF In Front Of 1960s Circular, Spooky "Authorized Personal Only" Building

Autonomous LEAF In Front Of The 1960’s Circular, Spooky “Authorized Personal Only” Building At Ames – Where They Keep The All The Alien Technology

Category: Nissan

Tags: , , ,

22 responses to "Nissan And NASA Team Up To Make Autonomous Driving A Real Thing – This Year"
  1. See Through says:

    OMG! Tesla and Elon got run over by a Nissan?
    Tomorrow Nissan’s market cap will shoot to $200 billion! Buy, Buy, Buy!

    1. Jouni Valkonen says:

      Mercedes and Audi and probably BMW had already run over Tesla long time ago. Tesla is just playing catch up but they are still miles behind the industry leaders. To put things in context Tesla just got adaptive cruise control into their 100 000 dollar cars!

      Nissan is here just creating hype with their LEAF. Barely profitable Leaf is just their marketing tool in order to boost the imago of Nissan and hence boost their ICE car sales.

  2. Nick says:

    This is super cool.

    I’d pay $30k for a Chevette, as long as it was self driving!

    Would save me so much time.

    1. storky says:

      Shaving, putting of makeup, eating breakfast and reading are some of the activities previously performed unsafely in traffic.

      I would request that all parties in autonomous vehicles are properly attired before entering the vehicle. . . and do not change while in traffic.

  3. Johnny GT says:

    But the real question…Will I be able to send the car on a beer run?

  4. Anon says:

    Nissan has managed to make the Leaf even more ugly…

    1. Airton says:

      They now put whiskers on the catfish face.

      1. Big Solar says:

        whatever they gotta do…

    2. EV says:

      they didn’t manage, they did it without a hassle, thats their style

      ugly things that dont look good

    3. Lars Hastrup says:

      In the beginning I thought my LEAF was so ugly – now after a year I´m in love with it.

  5. Han says:

    It is encouraging to see that Nissan is also vigorously tapping into the autonomous driving industry.

    Three points should be noted, however.

    1. “For Nissan, they have joined together with NASA and will have an autonomous vehicle delivering ‘materials, goods, payloads and people’ at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California by year’s end.”

    Since the article said an autonomous vehicle will deliver goods at Ames Research Center. It is safe to assume that that vehicle will operate only inside that center. Autonomous vehicles maneuvering on a closed campus are nothing new. In fact, Google has tested its autonomous vehicles countless times before testing them on open roads, where the real challenge comes in.

    2. “As for when the autonomous technology hits the public, Nissan says they will begin integrating it next year, with 2020 set as the introduction of ‘autonomous drive vehicles that have the ability to navigate in nearly all situations, including the most complex situation, city driving.'”

    So the real stuff affecting the masses will hit the market around 2020. This time-table is also agreed to by other manufacturers. So nothing special here. Also, as we don’t know the extent of autonomous technology integration promised by Nissan starting next year, we can only speculate.

    3. Speaking of the coverage of autonomous vehicles, why didn’t InsideEV cover the two models introduced at the CES 2015? The Audi “Jack” autonomous A7 completed a trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas. While Mercedes’ new F 105 promised futuristic autonomous driving experience.

    Also, no, Nissan is not ahead of Tesla in the autonomous race. Tesla has the necessary hardware installed in the most recent Model S already to enable highway autopilot while Nissan don’t have similar vehicles.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      I answer #3!

      We will cover the F 015 shortly, we had a little problem with too much news. and it running off the front page…so we are just letting people breath a little. It’ll be up on the weekend. (Random note: our post/coverage on it is exceptionally long)

      And the A7 while being a fine example of autonomous driving in a highway environment to CES is pretty swell…it isn’t electric. But you can watch the tight video on it here now below, (=

  6. James says:

    Re: Autonomous Drive.

    I ask: Are people nuts?!!!

    The legal complexities are just to obvious and too legion to mention them all.

    But a few: People claiming your car hit them, hurt them or ran over their dog. Mr. Musk claimed his auto-find and auto-park features were only legal on private property. Hello? Doesn’t that make all this stuff just moot? Who cares if your i3 or Audi can park itself in a public garage if you can’t do it legally? WIll you have to sign a waiver for that garage? Who would be stupid enough to do so?

    Watching keynotes speeches from auto execs at 2015 was brain-numbing. All the buzz is autonomous this-and-that. It’s the “ultimate luxury!”, they all said! WHAT?!!! Personally, I don’t want my car overriding my human will in decision making whilst I sip my coffee and read my tablet… While I would like some lidar;laser;radar features to protect me against insane drivers in gridlock, and I might not mind some nannies if that could prevent a fender-bender…Most times that I’m not in such situations, I would like to control where I go and how I do it.

    All this self-driving stuff sounds so high tech, but it’s so un-doable in a world where the majority of people won’t be able to afford this technology, and older cars still are on our roads. It makes zero sense. Why not take public transit if you want to be driven to work? Let alone driven by your own car?!! It’s nuts!

    Here’s where I get political – “liberal progressives” sharpen your pencils. Is this dreamy sci-fi, unrealistic stuff stemming from a massive ideology-swing where a majority of us believe government should just take care of us? Where we give up control of many of our usual responsibilities to a committee or political group? I mean – I’m not a control freak, but the first appeal of the horseless carriage was that you control where you go, how and when.

    To listen to these autonomous-drive hacks is like admitting you’ve gone stark-raving mad. Look folks, it aint gonna happen. In our lifetimes, at least. Sure Robocop and sci-fi movies are great – but lawyers and liabilities are our true reality in life.

  7. James says:

    Legal case # 12987765432B: Samantha Doe vs. Audi A15 Lic.# WR 2341

    L 🙂 L

    “Mrs. Doe attests, under oath, Your Honor, that said Audi, now parked in parking space 10A in the courthouse lot, unduly accelerated and ran over her husband’s wheelchair.”

    “Your honor, my client, Audi A15’s computer system and around-view camera system convey a different story”. Data tracking and parking lot survelliance prove…..”

    L 🙂 L

  8. James says:

    Mercedes’ CES presentation was priceless! Oh Em Gee!

    Instead of talking about electric or hydrogen cars, they made cartoons and spent millions making graphics that displayed their stupid concept car, which looked like a silver blob covered in blinky LEDs – replete with unrealistic butterfly doors ( i8? Hello? ) – inside were “passengers” who were busily playing with touchscreens that took the place where windows would normally be. The car-device-thingie? It drove them to work, they happy to sit and recline and do business-things – much more efficiently using their time, than sitting in gridlock!

    Are they high?!!!

    Buck Rogers stuff circa 2000-and-NEVER!

    Some quick, simple logic: How much will all this crap cost?!! Why don’t we spend public money on Hyperloop over individuals having to buy extravagant, expensive conveyances that only the wealthy could swing?!!! What happens when complex computer systems fail. Is anything on earth created by man – failsafe?!!! Seriously?!!!

  9. James says:

    Bottom Line Dept.:

    To me, all this nonsense by car companies…touting expensive global studies and intensive R&D seems to be sidestepping real and solvable issues like – how to power transportation, and how easy it would be for them to switch their products over to sustainable powertrains.

    Serious, folks. These car companies are trying to drive the narrative. They are trying to paradigm-shift what we are talking about. They have touched on this geek in all of us, raised on sci-fi flicks, who dream of automatic everything and a touchscreen world. When asked what energy solutions would power such devices, they glaze over, saying, “oh, maybe hydrogen, maybe nuclear…”…It’s BS!

    Only Tesla is driving the electric revolution. Sure, they are installing autonomous safety tech in their cars as a hedge against their competitors claiming Tesla cars can’t auto-park…etc… But they are trying to switch the mainstream focus off of what powers these “future cars” to what wiz-bang gizmo-type things these cars will do.

    Profit Centers. Every car guy worth his salt has seen the trend of car companies adding infotainment and connectivity to their products and trying to offer such options to buyers of even their entry-level subcompacts. The reason being that no real progress is being made to operate said car more cleanly or with less energy – no big steps, that is – to get that consumer off of entering into a contract of payments for 19th Century internal-combustion and slavery to non-sustainable energy.

    Instead, the lure of electronics and texting while driving is sold. “Hey, you can talk to your sister while on that mundane commute!”…”Hey, you can let go of the steering wheel!”… While that four-pot, sparkplug-explode pollution-emitter under the hood keeps ticking away!

    In the end we gain wisdom. Hey, Ford claimed their Sync and MyFordTouch systems upped the profit per vehicles sold over 30%!!!! Up-sell to this in-car tech and bank big. We are a smartphone-obsessed society. Go to lunch today and count the people who’se noses are stuck to their phone or tablet. It’s about making money – folks. Tesla stands in their way. Tesla alone says – the narrative should be on how to get off of gasoline. Simple wisdom teaches us that “smart” technology is best used as a portable device. In-car tech goes obsololete at supersonic rates. That GPS Nav you have in your 2007 car is “ancient” in tech terms!

    So why buy hardwired, proprietary stuff that will only make your car look old and tired in a couple years when you can buy portable devices for cheap that take car of your nav, GPS and texting, and over-the-counter aftermarket stereo equipment that will provide interconnectivity, and can be upgraded as needed?

  10. James says:

    One thing seldom spoken of here is that the ultimate sustainable transportation solution is: Staying Home.

    While car companies strive to hold onto income streams and mindsets of old that believe we all have to commute from home to someplace else for work, the bigger truth is – to avoid gridlock that eventually grinds us all to a stop on some concrete expressway somewhere, is to electronically commute – and – stay – home. Either that, or make our homes suburban, and our commutes shorter to satellite offices, labs and factories.

    Car companies like Mercedes are telling us they are spending billions to solve transportation problems but they cannot solve population problems.

  11. Open-Mind says:

    It’s unfortunate that no American companies have any expertise with autonomous vehicles.
    If they did, NASA could be directing some of their $18 billion budget at them instead.
    But IMHO NASA should just cancel all this silly autonomous stuff and focus more on
    their Muslim outreach initiatives:

    Probably some room for improvement there. They don’t seem happy yet.

    1. pjkPA says:

      What is NASA doing spending our money supporting a Japanese company? These are the same people who keep the Volt out of their market while dumping there cars here!
      A Chevy Volt costs $80,000 in Japan!
      I think we should make the Leaf cost $80,000 in the US and then see how many they sell here!

  12. EV says:

    dont want no damn auto driving car

    1. Fiddler says:

      You might feel differently when you’re 84 years old and about to lose your license. Maybe I can get an Autonomous Driving car when I can no longer drive myself. There are many baby boomers like me.

      1. Anon says:

        Yep. I think the Victorian “Salon” style vehicles will be popular again. They’ll be much like an autonomous living room on wheels.