Nissan aims to herald in the ‘Jetson' era of transport with the opening of its first autonomous driving research center in Silicon Valley.
Nissan Eporo robots are designed to emulate connected, autonomous cars that interact with each other to avoid collisions. Photo:AFP
The Japanese carmaker has underlined its commitment to new technology, and to working with the world's leading experts by opening a research center in the heart of Silicon Valley. The move is part of a larger effort by the Japanese car manufacturer to move development out of its homeland and closer to its international markets and to meet international and regional needs. And as such, the Silicon Valley team will work in partnership with Nissan's research center in Japan to develop autonomous driving vehicles.
"[Silicon Valley] is where everything is happening. This is where all the intelligence lies, so this is where Nissan needs to be," said Nissan Americas Senior Vice President of Research and Development Carla Bailo. While Nissan's corporate vice president, Takao Asami said of the move: "I think Nissan wants to create the future for mobility in autonomous driving,"
Researchers will also look for ways to connect the car with the internet, existing infrastructure, and other self-driving cars. They will additionally research what's called Human Machine Interface, so autonomous and connected cars can interact better with people.
"This lab is focused in reaching out beyond the cars to things that are beyond the automobile. It is really trying to think about the car in society and not just the car and the interior of it and I think that's the future," said MIT Media Lab Professor Alex Pentland.
Bailo hopes the move and the access it will provide to some of the world's most innovative minds will help Nissan take a commanding position in autonomous and piloted driving technology. "Maybe we will have a Jetsons era. We will see," he said.