Nissan, the famous car maker, has made friends with NASA, the famous space agency, in order to manufacture and design special vehicles used for driving around on other planets. The two have partnered up as part of a project to bring autonomous self driving cars to the roads of Earth as well as the barren dunes of the moon, or Mars.
The big pioneers in the technology, interestingly, are Nissan, whose self driving cars have showed promise of late, with the company showcasing vehicles that are 100% autonomous, with systems taking control of the main controls of the vehicle, such as accelerating, braking and steering, as well as detecting conditions on the road.
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NASA hopes to take and adapt some of this tech to their own vehicles which are designed for travel on other planets – but for now the duo are working on self driving vehicles for Earth with the process of navigating difficult terrain and smaller obstacles at the forefront of research. Of course, such adaptations could also be employed on the rocky cratered surface of other planets.
Additional technologies being tested by the two partners in crime also include robotic remote controlled vehicles, zero emission technologies for propulsion as well as human and vehicle interfaces and networking systems, along with the software to support such systems. It’s a major move into a technology area that’s decidedly geared towards breaking new ground in the future.
Indeed, NASA’s current mission plan is heading for Mars, or at least the moon, and remote controlled vehicles could very well be used to prepare the ground for whatever the space agency hopes to achieve on extra terrestrial surfaces. Robotic vehicles could make all the difference as we attempt to pinpoint just where the best spots are to put our feet down on the red planet, and most likely such machines will pave the way for man’s descent onto the surface.
Nissan’s existing zero-emission driverless vehicles are already causing a stir in the industry, and from NASA the car maker will undoubtedly learn a thing or two about getting remote controlled vehicles to work. Indeed the co-operation between this government entity from the United States and a Japanese for-profit car manufacturer is all about sharing valuable info.
The first forays into this five year partnership will begin shortly, and no doubt the results will be making their way onto streets in the near future. Although not from Nissan or NASA, the UK is about to see self driving vehicles arrive on the ground too. This emerging tech frontier, as we’ve seen countless times before, is one that will eventually take the world by storm.