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Robotics AI Japan Transportation

Nissan's Crash-Free R&D: 7 Cute Robots Mimicking Bees and Fish 105

Posted by timothy
from the if-they-could-only-mate-with-roomba dept.
cartechboy writes "As Nissan develops autonomous cars for its 2020 target date, the company's engineers are modeling the tech after behaviors seen in bumblebees and fish. Nissan actually tests self-navigation algorithms in seven small toy-looking robots called EPORO. The robots have 180-degree vision (modeled after bees) and monitor each others' positions, travel nose to nose and avoid collisions--just like a school of fish. Getting small robots to zip around without bumping into things might be the first step in getting cars to do the same."
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Nissan's Crash-Free R&D: 7 Cute Robots Mimicking Bees and Fish

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  • by rsborg (111459) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:57PM (#44708509) Homepage

    Seriously, not a whole lot of zipping - more like ambling. I think they're going to need a whole lot better processing to handle movement at 45mph, much less 75mph.
    Still, emergent behavior is definitely a strong idea... just wondering how the "groups" form - what sort of negotiation is needed? Will it require some form of authorization/authentication? What happens when the "group" loses an individual (ie, power/comm failure)? What about rogue elements?

    Lots of stuff to study and apply - but it still looks far off in implementation. I'd love to see this research combined with Google's driverless car tech :)

  • a wet blanket (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:03PM (#44708595) Journal

    "Getting small robots to zip around without bumping into things might be the first step in getting cars to do the same."

    I seriously hope they are past the 'first step' of modeling things in small robots. If they are planning on releasing this thing on the road in the next six years, they need to have tech that is just being refined at this point.

    For comparison, it can take six years to test and refine avionics software, even after all the algorithms are known. This software needs to be extremely reliable. Remember that even if a server has 99.999% uptime, it's still going to crash every year or so. When people's lives are on the line, you're going to want 99.99999% availability. That kind of software is not easy to make. If they are still doing fundamental research, they aren't going to have it done in time.

  • by intermodal (534361) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:19PM (#44708785) Homepage Journal

    This kind of system needs to be based on natural and fluid situations. Trying to base them on as-presently-constituted traffic laws is a mistake no matter how you slice it. The paradigm has different advantages and shortcomings than manual driving. Build a good anti-collision system, and then as needed, add the other layers on top instead of building a base upon assumptions based on law.

  • Re:a wet blanket (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Shatrat (855151) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:24PM (#44708847)

    Human drivers are far short of 99.999999% reliable, so I say hurry it up even if they're at Five Eights reliability...

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:50PM (#44709115) Homepage

    They need a system that can identify visually, as well as with radar that can not be fouled by other radar to scan the road ahead. Because I can see scumbags setting up a radar broadcaster in their junker to cause an autoguide car to hit them for insurance money.

  • Re:Seems a stretch (Score:4, Interesting)

    by beelsebob (529313) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @03:33PM (#44709545)

    I actually recently discovered why BMW drivers love your arse so much.

    It's because of their active cruise control system. I was demonstrated a 5 series' cruise control system, which got so close to the car in front it terrified me. If I were driving the car in front, I would probably have been thinking "bloody beemer driver" at that point.

    So actually, it's already the fault of autonomous cars that people get up close and personal behind you.

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