Nissan and NASA have announced a five-year research and development partnership that is designed to "advance autonomous vehicle systems and prepare for commercial application of the technology."

Under the terms of the agreement, employees from Nissan's Silicon Valley Research Center will work with NASA's Ames Research Center to develop and test autonomous drive systems, software, human-machine interface solutions and network-enabled applications. As aresult, they will test a fleet of zero-emission autonomous vehicles to demonstrate their ability to transport goods, materials, payloads and people.

According to Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, "The work of NASA and Nissan – with one directed to space and the other directed to earth - is connected by similar challenges." He added, "The partnership will accelerate Nissan's development of safe, secure and reliable autonomous drive technology that we will progressively introduce to consumers beginning in 2016 up to 2020."

Nissan & NASA team up to test autonomous vehicles and technology