Optic flow and the Franken aeroplane doing aerobatics

Australian scientists have developed a novel autopilot that guides aircraft through complex aerobatic manoeuvres by watching the horizon like a honey bee. Allowing aircraft to quickly sense which way is up. By imitating how honeybees see, engineers and researchers have made it possible for planes to guide themselves through complex manoeuvres with speed deftness and precision.

more from ABC - Catalyst

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Comment by James masterman on September 15, 2011 at 3:29pm

Saw this on Catalyst last night. Looks like a very interesting concept. It's funny how we humans build complex solutions with gyros/accelerometers/gps etc, but eventually find ourselves mimicking natures simple solutions which work better in the long run! Nature has had a few million years to perfect its solutions, though.


I guess there is nothing simple about optical flow from an algorithmic point of view, but once that has been sorted out, it would make for a very compact, robust and self reliant autopilot!


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