Thinner than a strand of hair, researchers have come up with a self driving car.

In collaboration with:

Thinner than a strand of hair, researchers have come up with a self driving car.

Vivek Varyani
August 31st, 2017

You must’ve heard of the phrase ‘Ants in your Pants’, well, science is now working on cars in your hearts.


Researchers from the Harbin Institute of Technology in China, have published a paper on an automated navigating motor. A motor, thinner than the size of a single hair that can self-navigate. This technology will not only enable medics to transfer drugs into the body, but it will also benefit surgeries that require high levels of medical precision. The vehicles are made of silica and contain a microscopic camera and magnetic field. Silica helps smooth the movement of the vehicle through the body, whilst also being a safe material. The microscopic camera will help get live visual data to surgeons, as they delve deep into our bodies.



In order to be completely autonomous in its functioning, engineers have used a CCD camera, Artificial Intelligence (AI) program, and a magnetic guiding field.


The above components work in three steps. In order to be autonomous in navigation, a microscopic camera in the device takes pictures of its surroundings and create a map. This map is then sent to an external Artificial Intelligence system, that plans out the shortest route and how to avoid any collisions. The last step in the process is for the AI to send these travel directions to a magnetic field generator that guides the micro vehicle on the calculated path. On top of this, the AI, can also recognise if the device has deviated from its path. This can be caused by external noise or magnetic waves. The AI then guides the nano vehicle back to its designated path.


Through Artificial Intelligence and virtual recognition technology, these devices can recognise differences between various blood cells and diseases. The scientists also demonstrated through the camera, how the vehicle differentiates between cancer cells, red blood cells and mixed cells. The camera does this by quite simply analysing the size and shape of the blood cells within the body. Truly remarkable!



The applications of such a device appear to have limitless boundaries. Self-autonomous nano vehicles might just be the pillar for future research fields. These tiny vehicles can travel within small spaces, just like tiny bots. They can help reach compact spaces in the human body and also potentially provide for autonomous internal procedures. These scientists are aiming for the device to have a car like features in the future. Future innovations include cruise control, lane keeping and even autonomous braking. Pretty mind-blowing right?!


The future in biomedical science has taken a huge leap forward with this invention. Can’t afford a Ferrari? Don’t worry you’ve always got the autonomous collision free nano vehicle to rely on.


Find out more about the Royal Air Force 100 Event and What is STEM

Make sure to follow us on LinkedIn to access our exclusive RAF 100 content! #raf100event #WhatIsSTEM


“ We want to apply the micro/nanorobotic systems in the field of biomedical operations and nanoscale manipulation ”

Register Interest