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.