Nissan's EPORO Concept "Cars" Avoid Collisions Like Fish
Nissan's new "EPORO" robot car concept is designed to travel in a group of "cars" while avoiding obstacles (including other cars). The technology is designed to mimic the behavioral patterns of a school of fish.
The EPORO technology is an update to the Biomimetic Car Robot Drive "BR23C" concept which was designed to mimic bees. Why did Nissan switch from bees to fish?
The answer is simple: while both bees and fish have excellent collision-avoidance abilities, bees tend to travel alone, but fish tend to swim in schools (unless, of course, they are predatory fish). This produces an advance in the collision-avoidance tech necessary for Nissan to get EPORO to work, vs. BR23C. According to Nissan, there are three types of fish behavior rules, based on proximity. Depending on the "area" an obstacle may be in, fish will exhibit different tendencies.
Fish Behavior Rules
AREA 1: Collision Avoidance - Change traveling direction without colliding with other fish.
AREA 2: Traveling Side-by-Side - Travel side-by-side with other fish while keeping a certain distance between each fish (to match the speed).
AREA 3: Approaching - Gain closer proximity to other fish that are at a distance from them.
In a pres release, Toshiyuki Andou, Manager of Nissan's Mobility Laboratory and principal engineer of the robot car project said:
"We, in a motorized world, have a lot to learn from the behavior of a school of fish in terms of each fish's degree of freedom and safety within a school and high migration efficiency of a school itself. In EPORO, we recreated the behavior of a school of fish making full use of cutting-edge electronic technologies. By sharing the surrounding information received within the group via communication, the group of EPOROs can travel safely, changing its shape as needed."Nissan intends to demonstrate the technology with a group of six EPOROs at CEATEC JAPAN 2009, October 6 - 10 at the Makuhari Messe. Strangely, the picture provided by Nissan shows seven EPOROs; what happened to the last one? Did it run into something?