CES 2017: Nissan Mobility Vision Includes SAM, a NASA-Honed AI


CES 2017 Nissan SAM Mobility self-driving car

Fresh off reporting record US annual sales for 2016, Nissan is pivoting briskly to the future, seeking to dominate the automotive talk at CES 2017 while laying the groundwork to continue generating buzz at the quickly-following NAIAS Detroit auto show.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn delivered a keynote address at CES this week in Las Vegas and will be doing the same at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, casting his vision for an electrically powered, self-driven automobile of the future that Nissan will take to the masses.

“At Nissan, from the beginning, we work to bring the right technologies for the full spectrum of our vehicles and the most amount of our people,” Ghosn said at CES 2017, where he demonstrated a range of technologies to support that goal. “This takes more than innovation. It takes ingenuity.”

To accelerate the time it will take for autonomous vehicles to get on the road safely, at CES 2017 Ghosn announced a breakthrough technology called “Seamless Autonomous Mobility,” or SAM. The technology partners in-vehicle artificial intelligence (AI) with human support to help autonomous vehicles make decisions in unpredictable situations and build the knowledge of in-vehicle AI.

This technology could potentially enable millions of driverless cars to co-exist with human drivers in an accelerated timeline. It is part of Nissan Intelligent Integration. Nissan said that SAM “could potentially enable millions of driverless cars to co-exist with human drivers in an accelerated timeline.”

Ghosn also announced that Nissan and Japanese internet company DeNA will begin tests aimed at developing commercial autonomous vehicles, that the Nissan Leaf will have new technology enabling it to proceed autonomously in single-lane driving, and that it’s continuing a connected car partnership with Microsoft that will more firmly put the Cortana voice recognition system in the passenger seat.

In an address at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Sunday, Ghosn will continue to expand on his vision at Automobili-D, the mobility-services show that the Detroit Auto Dealers Association has layered on top of the traditional auto show beginning this year.

Nissan will demonstrate a new connected-home technology featuring Leaf and its batteries in “Vehicle to Home” and “Vehicle to Grid” solutions, including a demonstration in which Leaf battery power will be used to make “refreshments” for Automobili-D attendees.

Ghosn also may be bracing for Nissan to become the target of a tweet by President-Elect Trump, who so far has tweeted broadsides against GM, Ford and Toyota about making cars in Mexico. Nissan is scheduled to make a total of more than 1 million vehicles a year in Mexico by the end of this year, many of them bound for the US market. Trump has threatened big tariffs on such imports.

“All carmakers are going to be watching very carefully starting January 20; what’s going to be the new policy; what are going to be the rules—particularly the North American rules,” Ghosn told journalists at CES 2017. “And we will abide by them.”