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
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. Related Content: 80beats: Robo-Fish Are Ready to Take to the Seas 80beats: To Win the Evolutionary Race, Robots Learn to Deceive 80beats: Scientists Glean Secrets of Flight From Birds, Bats, and Bugs