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February 20, 2013

Nissan Bringing Self-Driving R&D Lab to Silicon Valley

By Oliver VanDervoort, Contributing Writer

The technology that powers self-driving cars is slowly turning into something real and truly usable. Nissan is one company working to this end, having just announced that it will be moving its research and development center for the project to Silicon Valley.

The vehicular developer looks for its projects to bring machine-driven technology to the market more quickly.

Advanced GPS technology has gone a long way toward making the self-driving car a reality, but Nissan wants to get the rest of the way there by dedicating employees in the Sunnyvale, California research center to the endeavor.

The company’s senior vice president for North American R&D, Carla Bailo, said the research facility will have more than 60 engineers and technicians over the next few years.

The move from Japan to Silicon Valley is a way for Nissan to move the research into the heart of the industry.

Nissan has been working hard to be in the middle of advances in the automotive industry over the last few years. The firm seems to understand that the way to win the car sales wars these days is to derive a product that is head and shoulders better than the competition. This doesn’t necessarily mean the car needs to have better miles per gallon, so much that the car should offer something other companies simply do not.

Toyota and Volkswagen have moved their own self-driving car research centers to California as well, and the race looks like it could even put the gold rush to shame. Nissan has already been working on ways to get drivers into more efficient and electric cars.

These moves by Nissan and other major auto makers could change the look and feel of the automotive industry in the foreseeable future.

Edited by Braden Becker
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