NASA’s Ames Research Center and Nissan North America have signed a Reimbursable Umbrella Space Act Agreement and the first annex to that agreement.
The umbrella agreement allows for partnerships in autonomous vehicle systems, robotics, human-machine interface, software analysis/verification and network-enabled applications. The first annex to this agreement initiates cooperative research and development of algorithms, concepts and integrated prototypes for self-driving cars.
Ames and Nissan have extensive expertise and interest in autonomous vehicles. Ames will assist in reimbursed design, development, testing and assessment of Nissan’s autonomous vehicles, including limited use of Ames’ campus for testing. These tests will build toward a proof-of-concept remote operation of autonomous vehicles to transport materials, goods, payloads or humans, which NASA parallels to the way it remotely operates planetary rovers from a mission control center.
“All of our potential topics of research collaboration with Nissan are areas in which Ames has strongly contributed to major NASA programs,” said director of Ames, S. Pete Worden. “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.”
As Ames participates in this reimbursed partnership, NASA will benefit from Nissan’s shared expertise in innovative component technologies for autonomous vehicles, shared research to inform development of vehicular transport applications, and access to appropriate prototype systems and provision of test beds for robotic software.
Lessons learned from integration, testing, and demonstrations will enable Nissan North America to better plan for development and commercialization of autonomous vehicles and applications.