Navigation Links
ONR-funded research takes flight in Popular Science article
Date:7/25/2012

ARLINGTON, Va.The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is looking at birds' perceptual and maneuvering abilities as inspiration for small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) autonomy, and Popular Science is featuring this effort in its August issue, posted online July 25.

An ONR-funded, five-year Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program is examining the control and behavioral processes of birds and other small animals when flying at high speeds through complex environments, such as forests or urban settings. Researchers are trying to understand why birds make particular flight path choices and how they can do so quickly at higher speeds than would be safe for current engineered air systems in these environments.

The goal is to develop and successfully demonstrate a small aircraft that can navigate obstacles in very complex and unstructured surroundings, while maintaining speeds as fast as 5 meters per second. The theoretical results being developed may also be applicable to larger UAVs for particular tasks, such as landing at difficult, unprepared sites.

"Autonomous systems technology can be a great way to deliver increased capability to the Navy and Marine Corps at an affordable price," said Marc Steinberg, a research program officer in ONR's Science of Autonomy Program. "We can provide warfighters with a lot more flexibility and enable new mission performance, from flight under a forest canopy and in urban canyons to damage control applications onboard ships. Flying animals provide evidence it is possible to build compact platforms with limited sensing that can safely move through challenging environments."

In the lab, researchers set up an artificial forest with tall pipes serving as trees at Harvard University's Concord Field Station. Birds and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)-built UAV are wired with small digital video cameras and motion-capture technology similar to that used in Hollywood. Both are studied in parallel to compare and learn from performance as the research progresses. A goal is to move to flight in a real forest by the program's end.

The idea is not to copy the birds but to incorporate lessons about how they navigate and use dynamic obstacle avoidance methods into a system that can make real-time decisions that take into account its surroundings. For example, researchers already have discovered a theoretical speed at which the probability of a collision is high in forests with an average distribution of trees; if a UAV stays below that threshold, the probability of an accident lowers dramatically. The program also has begun to reveal the types of flight strategies used by birds in these environments.

"We want to build small-scale UAVs that can fly quickly through indoor and/or cluttered environments, but controlling these UAVs is very different than controlling a fighter jet flying up above the clouds," said Dr. Russ Tedrake, X Consortium associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and aeronautics and astronautics at MIT and the MURI lead. "To be successful, we have to solve a number of incredibly hard problems in computer vision and nonlinear control. This long-term project lets us focus on the basic research questions that will lead to fundamental results and, ultimately, dramatic new capabilities for UAVs."

In addition to providing warfighters greater flexibility, small UAVs are more agile and easily transportable, and they're less expensive. A program goal is to be able to do this type of flight with cheap, lightweight digital video cameras as the main sensors. This would eliminate the need for other sensors typically used, such as laser-based ones that add cost and weight, and the MURI is testing feasibility.


'/>"/>
Contact: Peter Vietti
onrcsc@onr.navy.mil
703-588-2167
Office of Naval Research
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Study by UC Santa Barbara researchers suggests that bacteria communicate by touch
2. Research reveals first evidence of hunting by prehistoric Ohioans
3. Diabetes Research Institute develops oxygen-generating biomaterial
4. APS issues new policy requiring identification of sex or gender in reporting scientific research
5. UC Santa Barbara researchers discover genetic link between visual pathways of hydras and humans
6. Study jointly led by UCSB researcher supports theory of extraterrestrial impact
7. U of Alberta researcher steps closer to understand autoimmune diseases
8. Research on flavanols and procyanidins provides new insights into how these phytonutrients may positively impact human health
9. A project to research biological and chemical aspects of microalgae to fuel approach
10. Scripps Research discoveries lead to newly approved drug for infant respiratory distress syndrome
11. Researchers attempt to solve problems of antibiotic resistance and bee deaths in one
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
ONR-funded research takes flight in Popular Science article
(Date:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April 28, ... Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ... announced a global partnership that will provide end ... use mobile banking and payment services.      (Logo: ... key innovation area for financial services, but it also plays ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... 15, 2016  A new partnership announced today ... underwriting decisions in a fraction of the time ... and high-value life insurance policies to consumers without ... With Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine and ... (blood pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and activity data) ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys ... founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned ... of the original technical leadership team, including Chief Technology ... of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of ... to the company. Dr. Bready served as ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/6/2016)... ... May 06, 2016 , ... Crucial Life Sciences Data Solutions, ... greatly improves performance of the platform. In particular, Version 4.1 boosts performance for ... data to be collected on a per patient basis. Clinical Studio has employed ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... American Process, Inc. (API) announced ... Patent Nos. 9,322,133 and 9,322,134, to API and its affiliated companies for BioPlus® ... hydrophobic nanocellulose compositions. In addition to these patents and U.S. Patent No. ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... , ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... proud to support the National Stroke Association during National Stroke Awareness Month in ... Facebook and Twitter pages throughout the month. CereScan will donate $1 up ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... WHIPPANY, N.J. , May 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... evaluating its oncology compound Stivarga ® (regorafenib) ... hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has met its primary endpoint ... The study, called RESORCE, evaluated the efficacy and ... disease has progressed after treatment with sorafenib. The ...
Breaking Biology Technology: