Nissan’s robot cars mimic fish to avoid crashing

Posted: October 5, 2009 in Nissan

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Nissan has developed a mini robotic car that can move autonomously in groups while avoiding crashing into obstacles (including other cars).

The Eporo, Nissan says, is the first robot car designed to move in a group by sharing its position and other information. The aim is to incorporate the technology into passenger cars to reduce accidents and traffic jams.

Although a group of Eporos may look like a gang of cybernetic Jawa, Nissan says the cars’ design was inspired by the way fish move in schools.

An evolution of the bumblebee-inspired BR23C robot car unveiled last year, the Eporo uses Nissan’s collision avoidance technology to travel in groups. Check out BR23C trying to get away from a Japanese lady in this video.

The automaker studied how large schools of fish can move without colliding. It says Eporo imitates three rules of fish movement: avoiding crashes, traveling side by side, and keeping close to other members of the school.

The robots use laser range finders and ultra-wideband radio to determine distance to obstacles. They also communicate with each other to form the most efficient group formation to maneuver through tight spots.

Eporo stands for “Episode O (Zero) Robot.” That zinger of a mouthful means zero episodes, as in zero accidents and zero emissions.

Nissan intends to show off Eporo at the Ceatec trade show next week in Tokyo.

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