Gabriella Stern:

Before self-driving cars get the green light, a lot of hurdles need to be overcome. To look more closely at some of those challenges and explore how this research may have broader applicability, The Wall Street Journal’s Gabriella Stern turned to Maarten Sierhuis, an expert in artificial intelligence, a former NASA scientist, and now director of the Nissan Research Center in Sunnyvale, Calif. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow.
 MS. STERN: A few weeks ago, you announced a partnership with NASA, your former employer. Is Nissan sending autonomous cars to Mars?
 DR. SIERHUIS: Well, it’s easier to drive on Mars because there are no humans. But it’s more the technology that NASA’s been developing for the last decade, autonomous systems, and what we’re trying to do with autonomous vehicles. They’re very in sync. I think we can do great research together on this topic.