A universal strategy for visually guided landing.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Standard

A universal strategy for visually guided landing. / Baird, Emily; Boeddeker, Norbert; Ibbotson, Michael R; Srinivasan, Mandyam V.

In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 110, No. 46, 2013, p. 18686-18691.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Harvard

APA

CBE

MLA

Vancouver

Author

Baird, Emily ; Boeddeker, Norbert ; Ibbotson, Michael R ; Srinivasan, Mandyam V. / A universal strategy for visually guided landing. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2013 ; Vol. 110, No. 46. pp. 18686-18691.

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - A universal strategy for visually guided landing.

AU - Baird, Emily

AU - Boeddeker, Norbert

AU - Ibbotson, Michael R

AU - Srinivasan, Mandyam V

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

N2 - Landing is a challenging aspect of flight because, to land safely, speed must be decreased to a value close to zero at touchdown. The mechanisms by which animals achieve this remain unclear. When landing on horizontal surfaces, honey bees control their speed by holding constant the rate of front-to-back image motion (optic flow) generated by the surface as they reduce altitude. As inclination increases, however, this simple pattern of optic flow becomes increasingly complex. How do honey bees control speed when landing on surfaces that have different orientations? To answer this, we analyze the trajectories of honey bees landing on a vertical surface that produces various patterns of motion. We find that landing honey bees control their speed by holding the rate of expansion of the image constant. We then test and confirm this hypothesis rigorously by analyzing landings when the apparent rate of expansion generated by the surface is manipulated artificially. This strategy ensures that speed is reduced, gradually and automatically, as the surface is approached. We then develop a mathematical model of this strategy and show that it can effectively be used to guide smooth landings on surfaces of any orientation, including horizontal surfaces. This biological strategy for guiding landings does not require knowledge about either the distance to the surface or the speed at which it is approached. The simplicity and generality of this landing strategy suggests that it is likely to be exploited by other flying animals and makes it ideal for implementation in the guidance systems of flying robots.

AB - Landing is a challenging aspect of flight because, to land safely, speed must be decreased to a value close to zero at touchdown. The mechanisms by which animals achieve this remain unclear. When landing on horizontal surfaces, honey bees control their speed by holding constant the rate of front-to-back image motion (optic flow) generated by the surface as they reduce altitude. As inclination increases, however, this simple pattern of optic flow becomes increasingly complex. How do honey bees control speed when landing on surfaces that have different orientations? To answer this, we analyze the trajectories of honey bees landing on a vertical surface that produces various patterns of motion. We find that landing honey bees control their speed by holding the rate of expansion of the image constant. We then test and confirm this hypothesis rigorously by analyzing landings when the apparent rate of expansion generated by the surface is manipulated artificially. This strategy ensures that speed is reduced, gradually and automatically, as the surface is approached. We then develop a mathematical model of this strategy and show that it can effectively be used to guide smooth landings on surfaces of any orientation, including horizontal surfaces. This biological strategy for guiding landings does not require knowledge about either the distance to the surface or the speed at which it is approached. The simplicity and generality of this landing strategy suggests that it is likely to be exploited by other flying animals and makes it ideal for implementation in the guidance systems of flying robots.

KW - vision

KW - flight control

KW - insect

KW - three-dimensional surface

U2 - 10.1073/pnas.1314311110

DO - 10.1073/pnas.1314311110

M3 - Article

VL - 110

SP - 18686

EP - 18691

JO - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

T2 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

JF - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

SN - 1091-6490

IS - 46

ER -