We want to work for Nissan. The Japanese company has been busy making cute little robots inspired by fish. Why? To work out a way to prevent car crashes, of course.
The tiny robots, called Eporo, can move in little fleets without bumping into each other. Like those fish that make fun of Nemo’s dad in Finding Nemo.
The Eporo is actually the second robot that Nissan’s developed based on animal behaviour – last year the company unveiled the BR23C, which is based on a bumblebee. That mechanical marvel also displayed anti-collision behaviour, but like a real bee tended to fly solo.
The Eporo, meanwhile, is a little three-wheeled doohickey designed to travel in groups of up to seven. Each robot has a laser range-finder which allows it to scan for obstacles and calculate the distance between itself and whatever’s in the road. This data is constantly shared with its shoal-mates via radio, allowing the group to travel together without bumping into each other and switch directions as a group.
Nissan plans to use the technique to help develop crash-avoidance systems.
“We, in a motorised world, have a lot to learn from the behaviour of a school of fish in terms of each fish’s degree of freedom and safety,” said the project’s principal engineer, Toshiyuki Andou.