What’s the average airspeed velocity of a robotic swallow?

Published May 6, 2020

Insects typ­i­cal­ly aren’t equipped with GPS, but they still need to know how fast they’re fly­ing (and where they are). They also don’t have very big brains.

Researchers at the University of Nevada fig­ure if they can learn how insects know their speed, they can cre­ate a sim­ple way for robot­ic drones to do the same, because “cur­rent meth­ods that autonomous drones use to esti­mate veloc­i­ty rely either on GPS (which is not always avail­able), or com­pu­ta­tion­al­ly expen­sive algo­rithms (which lim­its flight time for small systems).”

[They] tried to repli­cate the way in which insects process visu­al infor­ma­tion to cal­cu­late this deriv­a­tive val­ue based on images. Their ulti­mate goal was to cre­ate a tech­nique that could auto­mat­i­cal­ly and effi­cient­ly esti­mate a tiny fly­ing robot­’s visu­al veloc­i­ty and its dis­tance from near­by objects.

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