Yokohama, Japan – Nissan has advanced its car robot program with the new EPORO concept, which mimics the behavioural patterns of a school of fish when travelling with a group of similar vehicles to avoid colliding with each other. The company will unveil the concept at the electronic and technology show CEATEC Japan 2009 this week.

The EPORO builds on the company’s Biomimetic Car Robot Drive BR23C concept, unveiled in 2008, that used the patterns of bumblebee flight to avoid obstacles.

Nissan is the only automaker to have been a participant in the exhibition since 2006. The company will also exhibit the Skyline Crossover’s current collision prevention technologies, and provide test drives of an eco-drive diagnosis system that uses an iPhone application.

Nissan researchers studied rules of fish behaviour that were applied to the robot’s driving control. Generally, fish recognize surroundings based on lateral-line sense and sense of sight; the robot uses a laser range finder for lateral-line sense, while ultra wide band communications technology is used for sight. Fish are able to change their travelling direction without colliding with other fish, travel side-by-side at a certain distance apart, and approach other fish that are at a distance from them.

“We, in a motorized world, have a lot to learn from the behaviour 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,” said Toshiyuki Andou, principal engineer of the project. “In EPORO, we recreated the behaviour of a school of fish making full use of cutting-edge electronic technologies. By sharing the surrounding information received within the group via communication, the group of EPOROs can travel safely, changing its shape as needed.”

Nissan said it 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 the group via communication technologies.

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