Chemical Plume Tracing: Insects as Model Navigators
Final rept. 31 Aug 1998-31 Dec 2000
CALIFORNIA UNIV RIVERSIDE
Pagination or Media Count:
Control of robotic vehicles maneuvering upwind along an odor plume, generated by pollutant sources or unexploded ordnance, so that they discover the odors source is an unsolved problem. Our goals have been 1 to understand how flying insects reliably locate distant upwind sources of odor and 2 develop corresponding principles for the design of planning systems that can guide vehicles to accomplish the same task. We first determined in wind tunnel trials how the fine-scale structure of odor plumes modulates such orientation in flying insects. Encounter of filaments of odor at rates of 10 Hz or higher aims the course more toward due upwind and modulates forward velocity. We then treated a virtual vehicle and virtual odor plume that simulates odor dispersal in a varying wind field. This simulation was used to analyze performance statistics of alterative plume-tracing strategies. Plume- tracing strategies were developed based on ideas inspired by moth experiments, physical principles, and engineering methods. Some of these strategies exceed the performance of insect models by using less time an therefore energy to localize the odors source.