Visual Guidance of Flight in Bees and Birds, and Applications to Robotics

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Insects and birds are remarkably adept at seeing and perceiving the world, and flying rapidly and safely through densely cluttered environments. This talk will describe how vision is used to control flight speed, avoid obstacles, regulate altitude, maintain a stable attitude, determine flight direction, estimate distance flown, avoid collisions with other flying objects, and orchestrate smooth landings. Some of these strategies are being used to design biologically-inspired algorithms for the guidance of autonomous aerial vehicles. Applications to manoeuvres such as obstacle avoidance, terrain following, automated landing, and the execution of extreme aerobatic manoeuvres will be described.