Nissan has updated their BR23C “robot car” (first unveiled September 2008) that could detect obstacles within a 180 degree field of view using a single laser range finder. The new robot is called Eporo (Episode Zero Robot: a vehicle that produces zero emissions and is free of accidents) with obstacle detection that allows it to travel in groups similar to a school of fish. In general, fish have eyes on the sides of their head which gives them excellent peripheral vision, allowing them to travel in close proximity without smacking into one another. This strategy provides an excellent defense against predators, since the entire group can sense when evasive action is necessary, and which direction to head.
Eporo has been given 2 laser range finders positioned to give a field of view 288 degrees wide. Combined with information about the environment, the group of robots can sense each other and change direction as necessary. The robot stands about 50cm (1’7″) tall, weighs 13kg (28.6 lbs), and has a maximum speed of approximately 1.4km/h. In the future, this technology (which Nissan calls its “Safety Shield”) could be used in automobiles to prevent accidents on congested highways. They will be demonstrating the robot at CEATEC JAPAN 2009 next week.
Rules of Fish Behavior
Area 1: Collision Avoidance
Fish change direction of travel to avoid collisions with each other
Area 2: Parallel Travel
Maintaining a constant distance from one another allows tightly knit schools
Area 3: Approach
If they get too far from one another, they close the gap
- Nissan Eporo official press release (JP) (EN)
- Eporo @ Impress Robot Watch (JP)
- Eporo @ Robonable (JP)