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What better way to advance the development of crash prevention technology than to mimic some of the best proponents of collision avoidance in the natural world? Bees.

In a surprising project that will be unveiled at CEATEC, the humble bumblebee has given engineers at Nissan Motor Co.’s Advanced Technology Center a strategic hint at how to design the next generation of crash-avoidance systems.

Based on joint research with the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology at Japan’s prestigious University of Tokyo, Nissan has built the Biomimetic Car Robot Drive, or BR23C. It is a robotic micro-car that recreates bee characteristics with the goal of producing a system that prevents collisions altogether.
BR23C is one of many new safety technologies that Nissan is working as part of its 'Safety Shield' concept – an advanced, proactive approach to safety issues based on the idea that cars should help protect people. The approach classifies driving risks and accidents into six stages. It is Nissan’s goal to halve the number of automobile accident fatalities or serious injuries involving its vehicles by 2015 compared to 1995.

"The BR23C robotic car is positioned as the inner-most layer of this shield. We are expecting that this robotic car will support the development of future collision-avoidance technologies," said Mitsuhiko Yamashita, Executive Vice President in charge of research and development.

In flight, each bee creates its own oval-shaped personal space which in fact closely resembles Nissan's Safety Shield concept.

But more crucially, it is the bee’s compound eyes, capable of seeing more than 300-degrees that allows the bumblebee to fly uninterrupted inside its personal space. In order to recreate the function of a compound eye, engineers came up with the idea of a Laser Range Finder (LRF).

The LRF detects obstacles up to two meters away within a 180-degree radius in front of the BR23C, calculates the distance to them, and sends a signal to an on-board microprocessor, which is instantly translated into collision avoidance.

http://www.nissannews.com/newsrelease.do?id=576
Nick: JirkaPraha, 30.9.2008 07:49:11
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