Nissan is looking to schools of fish to learn about how to help people reduce car crashes and traffic jams. The car company developed tiny robots that move in fish-like groups of up to 7 without bumping into each other. Each uses a laser range-finder to measure the distance between obstacles. The data is constantly shared between peers via radio, allowing the group to travel as a “shoal” without bumping into each other. The technique allows the cars to travel side-by-side or quickly switch direction as a group [BBC News]. The robot is dubbed Eporo, which stands for Episode O (Zero) Robot, meaning zero episodes, or accidents, and zero emissions.
This is Nissan’s second attempt at designing a crash avoidance system based on animal behavior. Their last attempt was the BR23C robot, modeled after the anti-collision behavior of bumblebees (check out a video of the bee based bot here). The Eporo, however, imitates three rules of fish movement: avoiding crashes, traveling side by side, and keeping close to other members of the school [CNET]. Nissan plans to unveil the Eporo at the Ceatec conference in Tokyo on October 6.
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