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Nissan gives underwater rover a bird’s-eye view

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 (Nissan)

Driving a Nissan equipped with the company’s 360-degree camera Around View Monitor (AVM) system through a car wash is a hoot, but the automaker has figured out something even more useful to do with it in the water.

Nissan has teamed up with the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) to equip its next generation of remoter operated vehicle (ROV) with AVM to help them navigate the ocean floor over four miles down.

The system stitches together feeds coming from four cameras mounted around the vehicle to create a virtual bird’s-eye view that was originally developed to make parking easier, but will allow the operators of the tracked crawlers to avoid obstacles and get through rough terrain better than the point of view cameras currently in use.

The AVM’s version will employ 3D video processing that can read the contours of the surface, adding mapping capability and further enhancing the maneuverability of the vehicle. While that might be overkill in a flat parking lot, the technology could be incorporated into Nissan’s future autonomous cars, which will require much detail about their surroundings.

In any event, since part of JAMSTEC’s mission is to seek out underwater oil fields, the fruits of the ROV’s labors could find their way into automobiles on the road soon.