Science & Technology

The first walking mechanism that moves while not GPS….


Desert ants area unit extraordinary solitary navigators. Researchers were impressed by these ants as they designed AntBot, the primary walking mechanism which will explore its setting willy-nilly and return mechanically, while not GPS or mapping. This work parades new ways for navigation in autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence.

Human eyes area unit insensitive to polarized light-weight and ultraviolet light, however that’s not the case for ants, United Nations agency use it to find themselves in area. Cataglyphis desert ants above all will cowl many meters in direct daylight within the desert to search out food, then come in a very line to the nest, while not obtaining lost. they can’t use pheromones: they are available out once the temperature would burn the slightest drop. Their extraordinary navigation talent depends on 2 items of information: the heading measured employing a type of “celestial compass” to orient themselves exploitation the sky’s polarized light-weight, and also the distance lined, measured by merely investigation steps and incorporating the speed of movement relative to the sun measured optically by their eyes. Distance and heading area unit the 2 elementary items of knowledge that, once combined, enable them to come swimmingly to the nest.

AntBot, the new mechanism designed by CNRS and Aix-Marseille University (AMU) researchers at philosophy, copies the desert ants’ exceptional navigation capacities. it’s equipped with AN optical compass accustomed verify its heading by means that of polarized light-weight, ANd by an optical movement detector directed to the sun to live the gap lined. Armed with this info, AntBot has been shown to be ready, just like the desert ants, to explore its setting and to come on its own to its base, with preciseness of up to one cm when having lined a complete distance of fourteen meters. consideration solely two.3 kg, this mechanism has six feet for exaggerated quality, permitting it to maneuver in advanced environments, exactly wherever deploying wheeled robots and drones are often difficult (disaster areas, rugged piece of land, exploration of extraterrestrial soils, etc.).

The optical compass* developed by the scientists is sensitive to the sky’s polarized ultraviolet light. exploitation this “celestial compass,” AntBot measures its heading with zero.4° preciseness by clear or cloudy weather. The navigation preciseness achieved with minimalist sensors proves that bio-inspired artificial intelligence has vast capability for innovation. Here we’ve a trio of advances. a completely unique mechanism has been developed, new, innovative and unconventional optical sensors are designed, and AntBot brings new understanding on however desert ants navigate, by testing many models that biologists have presupposed to mimic this animal. Before exploring potential applications in aerial artificial intelligence or within the industry, as an example, progress should be created, for example in a way to operate this mechanism in the dark or over longer distances.

This work received support from the Direction Générale DE l’Armement, CNRS, AMU, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and from ANR below the Equipex/Robotex project.

* — This compass consists of solely 2 pixels screw-topped by 2 polarized filters that communicate be similar to AN optical detector composed of 2 rows of 374 pixels. Turning the filters automatically is AN innovation that has reduced the sensor’s cost quite significantly, from over seventy eight,000€ to solely some hundred euros, inside the constraints of the biomimetics.

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