Wednesday, 14 January 2015
Nissan teams with NASA for 'robot' cars
Driverless vehicles could become a reality thanks to a partnership between a UK car maker and a US space agency.
Nissan has agreed a five-year research and development programme with NASA (the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration) to develop technology for robotic driverless cars.
The factory, which employs nearly 7,000 workers, is already making Nissan’s ground-breaking all-electric Leaf hatchback and has been chosen to produce the sporty Infiniti Q30, which will become the first Sunderland-built model exported to the US when work starts later this year.
Development work with NASA will be carried out in the US by Nissan’s Silicon Valley base later this year, tests will involve Nissan’s Leaf electric car which is built in Sunderland, UK.
The company has set 2020 as the date it plans to introduce driverless vehicles for the mass market.
Carlos Ghosn, Nissan president and chief executive, said: “This work will accelerate our development of safe, secure and reliable autonomous driving technology.”
The car maker is not the only manufacturer looking into driverless vehicles; Audi and Toyota have both displayed prototypes.
According to Etienne Henry, Nissan's vice president for product planning, the company’s cars would appeal to the mass market, and could be built in the region.
He added: “Sunderland has proved that with Leaf and the investment in Infiniti Q30 the plant has all of the capabilities to handle major projects.
“It has delivered time and time again in terms of quality and productivity, so it would obviously be a strong candidate,” he added.
Nissan’s Sunderland factory employs nearly 7,000 workers and makes Nissan’s all-electric Leaf hatchback. The plant has been chosen to produce the sporty Infiniti Q30, which will become the first Sunderland-built model exported to the US when work starts later this year.