Google’s Robot Auto Has New Rival in RoboCar HV
Smartphone, IPad or Tablet controller and stored driving data can predict traffic conditions.
By Robotics Trends' News Sources - Filed Jun 12, 2012

ResponseJP—Last year, Tokyo-based robot venture ZMP introduced the RoboCar MEV mini car, single-person, 4-wheeled, autonomous, electric robotic vehicle. For 2012, ZMP has topped itself with robot car that this time really looks like a car. Watch out Google!

The Robocar HV, based, according to Response JP, on the Toyota Prius, sells for $150,000 (MEV $35,000) and was developed by ZMP as a test vehicle for research and development that acquires vehicle sensor data via the vehicle’s controller area network (CAN) to enable vehicle control through an independent controller.

The Robocar HV can acquire various information such as speed, engine RPM, number of steering wheel turns, and orientation, and it can control steering, acceleration, and braking. Acquired driving data can also be saved and put into a database in a server via the Internet using a cloud service jointly developed with Microsoft Japan.

“If detailed driving data is uploaded to the server and the data volume becomes huge, and if traffic condition data on traffic accidents, near accidents, traffic jams, etc. is also stored together with it, it becomes possible to predict whether the driving is dangerous or safe, or where traffic is likely to become congested depending on the driving or car status. When predicted data is sent to the car, the driver can be informed of this information, or the vehicle itself can provide support by actively moving to avoid an accident.”

ZMP is also developing an interface which will enable driving from a tablet or smartphone. Steering and speed can be controlled by the orientation of the device. Orders for Robocar HV began in spring 2012 for delivery in the fall.

“The price is high at 12 million yen ($150,000). We have started a membership service in which the Robocar HV can be shared on a yearly basis for 5 million yen ($62,500). As mentioned previously, the Robocar HV can be used as a test vehicle by researchers of robot automatic driving and safe driving support, or by developers of vehicle devices and sensors. Use in these ways by a variety of people will hopefully help contribute to support safe driving and ease traffic congestion.”

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