Status Report

NASA Ames Internal Memo: New Autonomous Vehicle Collaboration With Google

By SpaceRef Editor
July 2, 2014
Filed under , ,

Subject:  New Autonomous Vehicle Collaboration

From:  Centerwide Announcement

Date:  July 2, 2014

TO: Resident Staff

FROM: Dr. Thomas Edwards, Director of Aeronautics, and Dr. Eugene Tu, Director of Exploration Technology

SUBJECT: New Autonomous Vehicle Collaboration

We are pleased to announce that Ames has entered into a Non-Reimbursable Space Act Agreement with Google, Inc. to collaborate on autonomous vehicle concepts and technologies to enable new capabilities in airspace operations.

NASA’s understanding of current Air Traffic Management challenges and future air transportation needs, Google’s understanding of self-driving car architectures, and our combined capabilities in autonomy, robotics, and the implementation of autonomous operations makes this an ideal partnership.

Topics of collaboration may include sensors, architecture information, algorithms and/or human factors and human-autonomy teaming research. The lessons Ames learns from this testing will be applied to refine operational concepts and technologies for use of autonomy in airspace operations. The knowledge gained from this partnership will also advance our capabilities in the use of autonomous systems for human and robotic space exploration.

This is a multi-year collaboration involving such elements as initiating idea exchange and street mapping of the Ames campus starting in early July, followed by field testing ground vehicles, moving to applications of lessons learned, additional simulation studies, and further airspace operations concept and technology development through the coming years.

From the safety perspective, the Center will establish a multidisciplinary review board similar to other types of safety boards currently in existence at the Center. This board will be chartered to review the proposed research activities and operations of these vehicles. It will look at hazards and risks associated with the activities and operations, personnel qualifications, personnel training, and operational procedures to determine acceptability of any residual risks, and to ensure that proper provisions are in place to conduct the activity safely.

We look forward to expanding our knowledge and continuing our leadership in these key areas of NASA research so that we may pursue the growing opportunities in this field.

If you would like to respond to this memo electronically, you may do so by contacting or .


Sharon Lozano

Public Affairs Specialist

NASA Ames Research Center

P.O. Box 1 MS 204-14 Bldg. N204, Rm. 208

Moffett Field, CA 94035-0001

Office: 650-604-2989

Fax: 650 604 6104

SpaceRef staff editor.