It’s probably true that fish have more intelligence than robots but they know which way is up and down, and Nissan has copied the activity of shoals with its Eporo robot car.
According to Nissan, both bumblebees and schools of fish have anti-collision behaviors and fly and swim by detecting and missing obstacles.
Fish, says Nissan, recognize their surroundings using lateral line sense and Nissan is developing a pack of Eporo robots which it hopes will emulate this kind of behavior.
Toshiyuki Andou, who is Nissan’s principal engineer of the robot car project, said: “We have a lot to learn from the behavior of a fish in terms of each fish’s degree of freedom and safety within a school. In Eporo, we recrated the behavior 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 will show off the pack of Eporos at a conference starting on the 6th of October called Ceatec Japan 2009.
Of course, the ultimate idea is to have real cars without drivers on real roads, but we guess that’s a long way off yet – it’s a long and winding road that will eventually come.