Nissan Shows Off Collision-Avoidance Robots

Imagine one of those drunken nights when you're swerving all over the road, and suddenly a walking mailbox or tree magically jumps into your path? Now imagine an automobile that goes into autopilot in an instant and swerves the car out of away before smacking into that walking tree. That seems to be the idea--although not quite as dramatic--behind Nissan's latest collision-avoidance technology.

Currently the company is testing the technology on a small troop of Eporo robots, tweaking their ability to quickly navigate around objects. Like a school of fish, the six robots follow each other, coordinate their speeds, and apparently can shift lanes to avoid obstacles. Computerworld describes a recent demonstration at CEATEC, showing how the robots could shift from three lanes, to two lanes, and then down to one.

"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."

Although the robots are less than one meter high, Nissan plans to eventually incorporate the technology into cars to avoid road congestion and reduce the number of traffic accidents. Unfortunately, this idea won't work unless ALL vehicles have the collision-avoidance technology, including those not manufactured by Nissan. Hopefully future cars won't look like those Slime things from Dragon Quest games.

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  • Trauma
    One word comes to mind. "Classic's". What happens when you have a classic car. You wouldn't want to change anything or you depreciate the value.
  • Anonymous
    What's the point of coordinating all the cars on the road and having them auto-pilot themselves? You shouldn't be driving at all if you need the car to avoid objects for you. This will only make bad drivers worse since they'll depend on the car. If the ultimate goal is to remove the need for driving, then I may as well use public transportation.
  • jblack
    I wonder what they'd do if instead of hitting a tree it swerved into a small child. I can definitely see a lawsuit coming if something like that happens.