Nissan ratchets up its tech cred, opens new research lab in Silicon Valley

Nissan Sunnyvale R&D center

In an effort to keep the cutting edge and steep itself in technology, Nissan has opened a new research center in middle of the Silicon Valley.  Located in Sunnyvale, Calif., the mission of the new R&D center is to develop new solutions for autonomous cars–cars that will drive themselves.  The center will work in partnership with Nissan’s offices in Japan, and is an expansion of the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s existing office in Mountain View.

Nissan isn’t the first to begin developing computer-driven cars; brands like Audi and Google are already years into the process.  That said, the center will focus on more than just how cars might drive themselves down the road.  The brand also plans to commit time toward the research of the “Human Machine Interface,” which is essentially the user experience of cars with technologies like internet connectivity.

We think placing an office in the heart of the Valley is a great plan for Nissan.  After all, BMW made a similar move, and was the first brand to integrate Apple products into its cars.  Since then, BMW’s California research center has led the development of iDrive and other in-car technologies.  With the right set of techno-wizards in the Nissan office, we’re hoping to see even cooler integrations from the Japanese.

“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.

Here’s hoping for a some very cool new features in the cars of the future.  What sorts of technologies would you want to see in your “connected” car?  Let us know in the comments below.