Brain Power: The Future of Auto Innovation for Nissan Takes Shape in Silicon Valley

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NISSAN SV 01Nissan now has a new research center in the heart of Silicon Valley. Company leaders said they plan to partner with other companies and research institutions to develop the best and most advanced technology possible.

"This is where everything is happening. This is where all the intelligence lies, so this is where Nissan needs to be," said Nissan Americas Senior Vice President of Research and Development Carla Bailo.

The new facility is part of Nissan's global plan to expand research and development outside of Japan into key local markets. The team will work with the Nissan Research Center team in Japan to develop autonomous driving vehicles, in other words, car that can safely drive themselves.

"I think Nissan wants to create the future for mobility in autonomous driving," said Nissan Corporate Vice President Takao Asami.

Researchers will also look for ways to connect the car with the internet, existing infrastructure, and other self-driving cars. They will additionally research what's called Human Machine Interface, so autonomous and connected cars can interact better with people.

"This lab is focused in reaching out beyond the cars to things that are beyond the automobile. It is really trying to think about the car in society and not just the car and the interior of it and I think that's the future," said MIT Media Lab Professor Alex Pentland.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance has had a presence in Silicon Valley since 2011 with an office in Mountain View, Calif. Now the Alliance will continue their work in the larger lab in Sunnyvale.

"We hope to be an open center and have collaborations with the Silicon Valley attitude and with the Silicon Valley spirit. Nissan is well positioned I think to take the next step and be a leader in autonomous driving and connected vehicles and that is very exciting," said Research Director for Nissan Research Center Silicon Valley Dr. Maarten Sierhuis.

Some of the smartest and most innovative minds in the area will come together here to move the car industry and Nissan Motor Company into a new, more advanced, even Jetson-like era.

"Maybe we will have a Jetsons era. We will see," said Bailo.

Photo by Nissan Canada Inc.

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