Nissan opens new research center in Silicon Valley
Facility will work on autonomous vehicles and connected-car technology -- and interface issues to help drivers adapt to them.
While Detroit is still the hub of the U.S. auto industry, California’s Silicon Valley is quickly becoming the center for automotive technology innovation -- and the site of research labs for car companies.
The latest example is Nissan’s new research center, which will focus on autonomous driving and connected cars.
Earlier this week, the Japanese automaker and its partner Renault opened the Nissan Research Center Silicon Valley to form “collaborative partnerships with companies and research institutions in this global technology hub.” Nissan and Renault originally opened an office in nearby Mountain View in 2011, and the staff there will be moving to the new and larger Sunnyvale lab.
With local tech titans such as Google, Apple and the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford, Silicon Valley is the place for automakers that want to remain on the cutting edge of technology and rub elbows with startups and venture capitalists. That’s why BMW, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen years ago set up shop in the area at the south end of the San Francisco Bay, and Ford and Toyota did the same last year.
Nissan said in a press release that the opening of center is part of “a global strategy to expand and localize its R&D function in strategic markets” and that the new California facility will collaborate with Nissan's research center in Japan. Preliminary projects include autonomous vehicles “to realize a future with safe, stress-free mobility,” connected cars that “maximize energy and time efficiency” and the development of connected vehicle services.
Nissan said the facility will also focus on the planning and design of user interfaces to make it easier for drivers to adapt to all the recent technologies they're encountering in new cars. Complex interfaces have become a thorny issue with car buyers and well as bureaucrats as automakers try to adapt the latest connected consumer electronics to the dashboard -- and have stumbled.
"Another great example of the Japanese bringing a few more jobs here"
Agreed, the more potential jobs in USA the better. The thing I find humorous though is that when Ford opened up a research facility in Silicon Valley, the only thing that I remember some of the Japanese pushers saying is "Ford ran out of talent in Detroit" and various other negative things.
In the end, it isn't to stimulate our economy so much as to give them a potential edge in the market in USA and potentially even Japan. The more talent they can scout, the better their chances at developing leading technology, nothing wrong with that but silly to think it is for USA gain. Yet again, we simply benefit from their interest in making their company stronger.
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