Nissan has launched a new autonomous car system which utilizes the NASA technology. The Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM) system utilizes the NASA's Visual Environment for Remote Virtual Exploration (VERVE) which is used in space robots. SAM has artificial intelligence which can assess unpredictable situations on the road.
Autonomous vehicles, or those with self-driving capability are not new in the world of automotive. However, most self-driving car systems only allows assistance in common situations -- well-lit roads or dry surfaces accompanied by good weather conditions. But equipped with the said NASA technology, SAM can handle even unpredictable conditions.
Using the so called "mobility manager," SAM can examine sensor data and vehicle images to decide the appropriate action in unexpected situations. The Verge describes that the mobility manager is like a call center of sorts. On very unexpected situations, SAM may request assistance to the person.
The person will paint the route the car needs to take and the car will then resume the autonomous driving after it has passed the obstruction. SAM also records the solutions so it can be used in similar situations, and the recorded solutions can be shared to other vehicles that also uses the SAM system. Nissan said this could be used in autonomous car fleets like taxi and other ride-sharing services.
Meanwhile, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn also announced on Wednesday, Jan. 4, that a new version of the Leaf electric car will arrive "in the near future," cited Business Insider. He added on his speech during the CES 2017 that the second gen Leaf will be geared with Nissan's ProPilot autonomous driving technology, a camera based system designed for certain highway driving conditions
The NASA technology, VERVE, is a software with a collection of components which includes monitoring, visualizing and commanding robots in remote environments. It is used by scientists to calculate safe driving paths. It is used in maneuvering interplanetary robots like the Mars Curiosity rover.