(from Nissan Press
Release) Nissan EPORO Robot Car "Goes to School" on
Collision-free Driving by Mimicking Fish Behavior
- Advanced Robotic Concept Debuts
at CEATEC JAPAN 2009 -
YOKOHAMA (Oct. 1, 2009)
- In 2008, it was the flight of the bumblebee that inspired Nissan's
Biomimetic Car Robot Drive "BR23C" concept. In 2009, fish-inspired
technology takes center stage in Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.'s new Nissan
"EPORO*1" robot car concept, which is designed to travel in a group
of like-vehicles, mimicking the behavioral patterns of a school of
fish in avoiding obstacles without colliding with each other.
Nissan will demonstrate
this breakthrough technology with a group of six EPOROs when they
make their world debut at the CEATEC JAPAN 2009, October 6 - 10 at
the Makuhari Messe.
EPORO robot car
CEATEC JAPAN is an
annual exhibition showcasing cutting-edge electronic and information
technologies. Nissan is the only auto manufacturer that has been a
participant in this exhibition since 2006. In addition to displaying
the futuristic EPORO, Nissan Senior Vice President Minoru Shinohara
will deliver a keynote speech, titled "The Future of the Automobile
with Electric Vehicles and Car Robotics Evolution," and participate
in a panel discussion on "EV leads to a society of 'All
Electrification' and 'All Mobilization.'" Nissan will also exhibit
the new Skyline Crossover's*2 current collision prevention
technologies and provide test drives of an eco-drive diagnosis
system utilizing an iPhoneŽ*3 application.
So what do a bumblebee
and a school of fish have in common? Both demonstrate extraordinary
"anti-collision" abilities, navigating instinctively and
intelligently through challenging terrain by detecting and avoiding
obstacles - just as future Nissan safety vehicles may have the
capability to do. But where bees - and the BR23C robot car - are
likely to travel alone, the schooling behavior of fish, or a group
of vehicles, presents a far greater challenge in terms of collision
avoidance. In developing EPORO, three rules of fish behavior were
applied to its driving control.
School of fish swimming
recognize the surroundings based on lateral-line sense and sense of
sight and form schools based on three behavior rules. A laser range
finder*4 is used for lateral-line sense, while UWB*5 communications
technology is utilized for the sense of sight.
Fish Behavior Rules
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
"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," said Toshiyuki Andou, Manager
of Nissan's Mobility Laboratory and principal engineer of the robot
car project. "By sharing the surrounding information received within
the group via communication, the group of EPOROs can travel safely,
changing its shape as needed."
This is the world's
first development of a robot car that can travel in a group by
sharing the position and information of others within a group via
While Nissan's ongoing
research aims at creating collision-free vehicles based on its
safety concept "Safety Shield*6," new technologies used in EPORO
also aim to improve migration efficiency of a group of vehicles and
contribute to an environmentally friendly and traffic jam-free
Minoru Shinohara, Senior
Vice President in charge of Research & Development, will make a
presentation on "The Future of the Automobile with Electric Vehicles
and Car Robotics Evolution," talking about an impact of EV on
society and a safer automotive society in the future with
*1: EPORO: Abbreviation
of EPisode O (Zero) Robot (Episode aiming to be CO2-free and
*2: Skyline Crossover: Infiniti EX outside Japan.
*3: iPhoneŽ is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.
*4: Laser range finder: Ranging sensor which measures the distance
to an obstacle with reflection of laser light.
*5: UWB: Ultra Wide Band: Short-distance radio communications
technology that measures the position of the target and the distance
to it through calculation of the time lag from transmission to
reflection of the pulse signal.
*6: Safety Shield: Nissan's advanced and active safety concept based
on the idea the vehicle that always helps protect the people from
normal driving situation to after the collision. It focuses on
supporting drivers not to let them face the risk.