The role of optic flow pooling in insect flight control in cluttered environments

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Flight through cluttered environments, such as forests, poses great challenges for animals and machines alike because even small changes in flight path may lead to collisions with nearby obstacles. When flying along narrow corridors, insects use the magnitude of visual motion experienced in each eye to control their position, height, and speed but it is unclear how this strategy would work when the environment contains nearby obstacles against a distant background. To minimise the risk of collisions, we would expect animals to rely on the visual motion generated by only the nearby obstacles but is this the case? To answer this, we combine behavioural experiments with numerical simulations and provide the first evidence that bumblebees extract the maximum rate of image motion in the frontal visual field to steer away from obstacles. Our findings also suggest that bumblebees use different optic flow calculations to control lateral position, speed, and height.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
  • Stockholm University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Zoology
Original languageEnglish
Article number7707
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 May 22
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes