Nissan has demonstrated self-driving cars that respond to road conditions and unexpected conditions using artificial intelligence technology developed by NASA.
The company's Seamless Autonomous Mobility system allows self-driving automobiles to share information about accidents, road construction, and other obstacles to other cars.Each car on the road uploads information about road conditions to a central command center, which updates a database and shares the information with cars that are approaching the area.Nissan says the system could grow to support millions of self-driving cars.
One important aspect of the technology is that it allows expert humans to help automobiles decide what to do when facing unfamiliar or unpredictable conditions.For example, if an accident occurs, police may use hand signals to direct cars to travel in a particular lane, even though a traffic light may be red.Current self-driving cars can't interpret law enforcement hand gestures.With SAM, Nissan can receive requests for instructions and experts can let cars know how to proceed.
"This is not only a demonstration of the transfer of space technology to industry, but also the application of their research back to our space technology," said Eugene Tu, director of NASA's Ames Research Center. "It has additional uses for our unmanned aircraft systems research.This is a perfect example of technology literally driving exploration and enabling future space missions."
"Our goal is to change the transportation infrastructure," said Maaten Sierhuis, the former NASA scientist who directs Nissan's Silicon Valley research center. "We want to reduce fatalities and ease congestion.We need a huge number of vehicles out there.What we are doing at Nissan is finding a way to have this transportation system not in 20 years but now."
Nissan previewed the technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.