NASA Biomorphic Explorer UAV Update

Posted 30 Jan 2005 at 16:20 UTC by steve Share This

A new NASA Tech Brief Technical Support Package (PDF format, free reg required), has been released containing new details and photos of the NASA initiative to develop insect-inspired flight control systems for UAVs. Among the list of techniques discussed is using dragonfly-based optical flow instead of complex stereo vision for hazard avoidance and stablization, sky polarization pattern navigation similar to that used by bees, and a bee-based landing and deployment strategy. Despite having very tiny brains, fixed focus eyes, and no stereo vision, insects are still better at flying, landing, and navigating than modern UAVs. NASA wants to use these technologies to develop flying robots that can study Mars and other planets. Much of this research comes from the NASA Bioinspired Engineering of Exploration Systems project (BEES). More information can be found in a 2003 Tech Brief article and in an older IAV/IEEE research paper (PDF format).

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