Cars may one day mimic fish to avoid collisions

October 1, 2009
Robot cars designed by Nissan travel in group and move to avoid obstacles at a press preview at the company's headquarters in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo. With these robots, engineers in Japan say they are a step closer to developing technology they hope will cut the risk of car crashes -- by mimicking the behaviour of fish.

Engineers in Japan say they are a step closer to developing technology they hope will cut the risk of car crashes -- by mimicking the behaviour of fish.

The experts at have been studying fish and the way they are able to swim in schools and avoid colliding with each other.

The result is a that can travel in a group of up to seven, avoiding bumps by sharing information with its peers.

The firm hopes to use the technology in its vehicles in future.

The three-wheeled robot uses a laser range finder, which measures the distance to an obstacle, and radio communications to recreate the behaviour of fish, which can change direction and travel side by side without colliding.

Last year Nissan unveiled a similar robot inspired by the bumblebee, which is also highly adept at avoiding collisions but travels solo.

"We, in a motorised world, have a lot to learn from the behaviour of a school of in terms of each fish's degree of freedom and safety," said Toshiyuki Andou, the principal engineer in the project.

By sharing information, the group can travel safely, changing its shape as needed, Andou said.

Nissan will demonstrate the technology at the CEATEC electronics trade fair in next week.

(c) 2009 AFP

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Oct 01, 2009
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not rated yet Oct 01, 2009
i wonder if they knew about the "flocking" software of BOIDS?

i notice that we are now reinventing a lot because people in different domains dont step out of them to even find in other areas the work done.

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