Nissan's all-electric vehicle with self-driving system at NASA's Ames Research Center in California. Image: Nissan Motor Co.

NASA and Nissan to Conduct Joint Research on Self-Driving Cars - NASAと日産が自動運転技術を共同研究


This article is presented bilingually in English and Japanese. For Japanese, click here. この記事は日本語でもお読みいただけます。日本語はこちら

Aerospace is an important element of US-Japan cooperation, with several projects underway. On January 9, 2015, NASA and Japanese automobile company Nissan revealed the latest in this vein, announcing a five-year R&D partnership agreement for autonomous vehicle systems. Under this partnership, NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in California and Nissan’s Silicon Valley Research Center will conduct joint research on autonomous drive systems, human-machine interface, network-enabled applications, and software analysis and verification.

NASA will assist in design, development, testing and assessment of Nissan’s autonomous vehicles with its knowledge gained in developing software for the Mars rover and robots onboard the International Space Station. “There are a lot of obstacles on Mars, like rocks and craters, that better autonomous technology can help overcome,” the director of Ames Research Center, S. Pete Worden said. Nissan also acknowledged that it would be a win-win partnership, as it will improve the company’s time-to-market of autonomous vehicles, as the company set 2020 as the target year for roll-out. President and CEO of Nissan, Carlos Ghosn says “The work of NASA and Nissan, with one directed to space and the other directed to earth, is connected by similar challenges.”

Both the US and Japan have strong capabilities in advanced technology, and aerospace continues to be a major area of mutual effort. The countries’ leaders encouraged cooperation in the sector in the US-Japan joint statement of April 2014, when President Obama met Prime Minister Abe in Tokyo. The statement points out that “the United States and Japan continue to be world leaders in high-technology, where our collaboration is expanding the frontiers of robotics, space, and medical science.”

Boeing and Japanese chemical manufacturer Toray agreed to collaborate on aerospace technology in late November of 2014. In October, 2014, the governments of the US and Japan agreed to expand cooperation on security in space in the interim report on the revision of the guidelines for Japan-US defense cooperation.