Nissan has announced that it is providing its unique Around View Monitor (AVM) technology to the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and Topy Industries, Ltd., through a joint development project that may help further ocean exploration.
The joint development contract with JAMSTEC and Topy, a manufacturer of robot crawlers, will enhance the government agency’s ability to search deep underwater for natural resources using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). Nissan’s AVM technology will help ROV operators avoid obstacles and navigate the ocean seafloor more easily.
The project exemplifies how AVM know-how is being put to practical use in complex operating environments and is among the Japanese Cabinet office’s Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP), which aims to realize innovation through the promotion of research & development activities across government ministries.
AVM is one of the base technologies for Nissan’s autonomous drive vehicles, which the company aims to bring to market by 2020. First commercialized in 2007, AVM provides a virtual 360-degree overview of a car from a bird’s-eye view as pictured from above. 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 (MOD) technology to AVM in 2011 and continues to develop other associated safety technologies.
Under the Japanese government’s SIP initiative, JAMSTEC, Japan’s agency that develops next-generation technologies to explore for resources deep under the sea, and Topy Industries, one of the top manufacturers of robot crawlers in Japan, have teamed up to develop a highly-efficient operating system for undersea searches using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). The ROVs being tested by JAMSTEC and Topy include a version of Nissan AVM which features three-dimensional picture processing capability.
The AVM 3D function is combined with the ROV’s camera to improve measurement of distances on the ocean floor. This provides operators, controlling the ROVs aboard mother ships at sea, 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.