Nissan robot car draws inspiration from bees

Laser scanner looks at surroundings to avoid accidents


With a clear eye on grabbing some headlines, Nissan has unveiled a prototype robot car that it says was inspired by the humble bee.

The BR23C is a two-wheeled machine that the car maker developed together with Tokyo University as part of its ongoing work on improving road safety by preventing collisions altogether.

Look both ways

Its bee inspiration comes in the form of sensors that look for incoming objects and enable the car to move away in the same way a bee in flight can avoid almost all obstacles.

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Nissan's vehicle uses a laser rangefinder to scan a 180-degree field in front of itself, with the possibility of adding a rear sensor to provide total coverage. A typical bee manages to sweep 300 degrees with its compound eyes.

Plans afoot

As a prototype platform, the BR23C won't be going into production, but Nissan does say the technology could be used in cars like its Pivo 2 that can manoeuvre quickly and react to changing situations.