Robots that mimic the behaviour of fish have been developed by Japanese car manufacturers Nissan; they believe the technique can be used in crash avoidance systems. The tiny robots, called Eporo, can move in a fleet without bumping into their travelling companions.
The new three-wheeled robot Eporo is designed to travel in a group of up to seven vehicles. Each uses a laser range-finder to measure the distance between obstacles. The data is constantly shared between peers via radio, allowing the group to travel as a "shoal" without bumping into each other. The technique allows the cars to travel side-by-side or quickly switch direction as a group. "We, in a motorised 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," said Toshiyuki Andou, principal engineer of the project.
Eporo will be shown at Japanese design fair Ceatec on 6 October. Last year Nissan unveiled BR23C robot which was modeled on the behaviour of bumble bees.