Nissan is moving into the Silicon Valley community to try to keep current with autonomous vehicle development and build partnerships with the companies and the community that will make them a reality. To keep the dialogue moving forward Nissan is hosting and attending Meet Ups every other month. It will also post a podcast for those who could not make the meeting, and the general public is welcome to view it as well.
Maarten Sierhuis is Research Director at Nissan’s Research Center Silicon Valley. He started the Meet Up series and he calls it the “Driving Innovation” speaker series. Sierhuis says "We have roboticists that joined us and we are working together on going to the next frontier which is not in space but is here on the road in California, and I think that is very exciting. We are getting a lot of interest from people around the states and even abroad. "I don't think technology is really the issue here. What we really need to do is really understand what autonomous vehicles are all about and what people want from autonomous vehicles.”
Nissan’s goal is to be part of the fast growing trend of making vehicles autonomous. NHTSA recently stepped up to help the discussion by providing levels of automation so that vehicles that are being released to the market now can at least be categorized. For example, the current BMW X5 was recently released and it can basically drive itself in traffic. Coming Cadillac models can do the same thing, but on highways. Volvo now has technology that allows drivers to exit their vehicle, and the vehicle will then park, eliminating valets, but also making it possible to extend that vision to include cars that go searching for spots in public areas as well. It will not be long before one vehicle with all these technologies is available for sale. How could anyone not call such a vehicle autonomous?