Nissan has been at the forefront of the development of autonomous cars, vehicles that are able to drive themselves on public roads by using commands from the occupants. Even though progress has been steady, there are still issues that need to be addressed such as safety, communication between vehicles and between vehicle and occupants, the changes to driving laws and new rules that need to be implemented, as well as how this will affect insurance companies.
Even so, Nissan is confident in the success of these new innovations and are looking to form a team of professionals that will be able to contribute and help deal with the current problems facing autonomous vehicles. However, they are not looking for help from the automotive industry, instead relying on the expertise and experience of people from other industries.
Nissan America R&D Senior Vice President Carla Bailo claims that this group will be very diverse with experts coming in with various specializations. It is their hope that this new gene pool will be able to come up with fresh and innovative solutions to their current problems. In order to show that they are serious with this new initiative, Nissan has just appointed former NASA scientist Maarten Sierhuis as lead on the project. His expertise is artificial intelligence and has worked with other companies such as IBM and Xerox.
For the rest of the group, Nissan will be turning to California for help, specifically Silicon Valley. This area is home to a huge number of IT and computer companies and, according to Bailo, represents a “talent trove” filled with endless resources.
In addition to these experts, the group will also benefit from partnerships with several universities such as MIT, Berkeley and the University of California. Several specialists from the Nissan Motors technical center in Atsugi, Japan will also be transferred to the team.