Insect Navigation and Communication in Flight and Migration: A Potential Model for Joining and Collision Avoidance in MAVs and Mobile Robots Fleet Control
Ma, Zhanshan (Sam)
Krings, Axel W.
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The human being should be awarded the championship of navigation on the planet, on the virtues that they not only have invented and manufactured the compass, GPS, aircraft, vessel, spacecraft, but also have demonstrated exceptional non-instrumental navigation skills.12 The Austronesian expansion from the Asian mainland into the Pacific performed by the Pacific navigators, who eventually populated the most remote islands of the Pacific about 4000 years ago, is a vivid example (Wehner 1998). However, animals, especially flying birds and insects are strong contenders. Monarch butterflies can migrate up to 2000 miles from their reproductive sites in the eastern US and Canada to their over-wintering sites in the forests of Mexico, and it is postulated that they may possess a biological equivalent of a low-resolution GPS system that is based on the magnetic field of the earth. In fact, even the long-legged ants (Cataglyphis fortis) in the Saharan desert use the dead-reckoning navigation strategy, which is attributed to the Polynesians, but the ants apparently have acquired the capability much earlier, given the relative short evolutionary history of humans. In this article, we briefly review the state-of-the-art research on insect navigation and communication used in flight and communication, with the objective to inspire cross-disciplinary studies in aerospace engineering, biology and computer science.
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