Collision Avoidance and Local Guidance Based on Insect Visual Motion Processing

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8651-07-C-0099
Agency Tracking Number: F061-149-4067
Amount: $1,228,900.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2007
Solicitation Year: 2006
Solicitation Topic Code: AF06-149
Solicitation Number: 2006.1
Small Business Information
825 S. Myrtle Ave., Monrovia, CA, 91016
DUNS: 195754056
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Patrick Shoemaker
 Senior Scientist
 (626) 471-9700
Business Contact
 Kevin Dinniene
Title: Controller
Phone: (626) 471-9778
Research Institution
Flying insects display remarkable capabilities for local guidance and obstacle avoidance based on their visual sense. If similar performance could be realized in autonomous flying vehicles and weapons, it would greatly enhance their effectiveness by enabling near-ground flight in urban, forest, and indoor/in-cave environments. We have investigated the integration of biomimetic visual motion detection and flight control for collision avoidance in Phase I. Visual processing is based on adaptive motion detection as observed in flies. Adaptation has the effect of reducing detector dependence on non-motion-related parameters of visual stimuli, improving estimates of optic flow. The control theory is based on a model for wide-field neurons (tangential cells) that spatially integrate local optic flow estimates. The outputs of these integrators are applied as feedback signals for direct control of vehicle dynamics. When combined, these algorithms provide a reflexive or inner control loop for avoiding collisions and centering in clutter. In Phase II we propose to develop a demonstration of the combined algorithms in autonomous vehicles, develop an implementation suitable for use in a small UAV, integrate the lower-level reflexive guidance with higher- or mission-level control, and establish a road map for integration into an operational micro-UAV in Phase III.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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