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Nissan shifts self-driving car R&D to Silicon Valley

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Nissan Leaf Wireless Charging
Nissan Leaf Wireless Charging

Nissan has opened a new advanced research center in Sunnyvale, California that will specialize in self-driving and connected cars. Speaking to Bloomberg, the company's senior vice president for North American R&D Carla Bailo said that the facility will have over 60 engineers and technicians in the next three years, and that the move from Japan to Silicon Valley is about shifting Nissan's work "to the heart of the industry." The company opened a Mountain View research office in 2011, but the new center indicates that the company plans to make significant investments in automated vehicle technology.

"We’re going to focus on this technology really in the heart of where it lies today."

Other car companies have already set up base in the Valley: Toyota and Volkswagen both work on infotainment systems in the region, and of course Google's self-driving car initiative is minutes away in Mountain View. Nissan also plans to tap the resources of Stanford University's automotive labs as well as the University of California's Berkeley and Davis campuses. According to Bailo, the company expects work from the new research center to show up in products within ten years.