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