Biomimetic Autopilot Based on Minimalistic Motion Vision for Navigating along Corridors Comprising U-shaped and S-shaped Turns

  • Serres Julien
  • Ruffier Franck

  • Insect flight
  • Biomimetics
  • Biorobotics
  • Collision avoidance
  • Body saccades
  • Optic flow


A bio-inspired autopilot is presented, in which body saccadic and intersaccadic systems are combined. This autopilot enables a simulated hovercraft to travel along corridors comprising L-junctions, U-shaped and S-shaped turns, relying on minimalistic motion vision cues alone without measuring its speed or distance from walls, in much the same way as flies and bees manage their flight in similar situations. The saccadic system responsible for avoiding frontal collisions triggers yaw body saccades with appropriately quantified angles based simply on a few local optic flow measurements, giving the angle of incidence with respect to a frontal wall. The simulated robot negotiates stiff bends by triggering body saccades to realign its trajectory, thus traveling parallel with the wall along a corridor comprising sharp turns. Direct comparison shows that the performance of this new body saccade-based autopilot closely resembles the behavior of a fly using similar body saccade strategy when flying along a corridor with an S-shaped turn, despite the huge differences in terms of the inertia.