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Searching the watery depths
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Searching the watery depths 

Nissan’s Around View Motor (AVM) technology, which was introduced to in 2007, provides drivers with a 360 degree view of their car from a bird’s eye view. The technology helps drivers visually confirm the vehicle’s position relative to parking spaces and adjacent objects and maneuver into parking spots more easily. Nissan added Moving Object Detection technology to AVM to make drivers be able to see obstacles in real time.

At first AVM was used for interesting but rather domestic functions like a reverse camera for backing a car up and an indicator light for when someone was in your blind spot.

But the technology’s potential continued to grow and AVM is now being used in the creation of self-driving cars as well as in major industrial projects. Nissan’s autonomous drive vehicle is expected to be brought to market in 2020, in case you were wondering.

But now, thanks to this new partnership, AVM will be going to explore the deep sea.

The joint development contract with Nissan, JAMSTEC and Topy – who is a major manufacturer of robot crawlers in Japan – will enhance JAMSTEC’s ability to search deep underwater for natural resources using remotely operated vehicles. Specifically, the AVM will help operators to avoid obstacles and navigate the ocean seafloor more easily.

Interestingly, these remote operated vehicles by JAMSTEC and Topy include a version of the AVM which features three-dimensional picture processing capability. This 3D function is combined with the vehicle’s camera to improve measurement of distances on the ocean floor. This provides operators, controlling the ROVs aboard a ‘mothership,’ an overhead real-time bird’s-eye view of the remote vehicle and its immediate surroundings. The goal is to improve the efficiency of undersea searches by avoiding obstacles on the seabed with better real-time situational awareness.

While the exploration of the deep sea is an admirable goal, it’s bitter sweet that all this advanced robotics technology will be replacing good-old fashioned (and super cool) sea exploring equipment – even the imaginary kind.

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