"One small step for man, one giant leap for self-driving vehicles." Such could have been the tagline for the joint announcement from Nissan and NASA that'll see the two companies combine their engineering efforts over the next five years to advance autonomous vehicle technology.

Specifically, they plan to focus their work on autonomous drive systems, human-machine interface solutions, network-enabled applications and software analysis and verification.

The seemingly unlikely duo announced the partnership earlier today. The work of the space agency may seem quite different from what Nissan deals with here on earth but there's plenty that the two entities can learn from each other.

Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Nissan Motor Co., echoed that sentiment, noting that the work of NASA and Nissan is connected by similar challenges. The partnership, he added, will accelerate Nissan's development of safe, secure and reliable autonomous drive technology they plan to progressively introduce to consumers beginning in 2016.

The two aim to build and test a fleet of zero-emission autonomous vehicles at NASA's Ames Research Center to demonstrate proof-of-concept remote operation of autonomous vehicles for the transport of materials, goods, payloads and people. The first vehicle in this feet is expect to be ready for testing by the end of this year.

Director of Ames Research Center, S. Pete Worden, said they look forward to applying knowledge developed during this partnership toward future space and aeronautics endeavors.