Robotics

UV light as your guide

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Science  17 May 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6441, pp. 646-647
DOI: 10.1126/science.364.6441.646-g

Navigation by using global positioning satellites or magnetic fields or motion tracking by using inertial sensors or gyroscopes can be hindered in dense urban settings or suffer from poor resolution and drift. Dupeyroux et al. drew inspiration from desert ants, which use a combination of stride, visual cues of motion, and polarization of sunlight to track the positions of their nest and sources of food. They developed a robot equipped with a 2-pixel compass that was able to use ultraviolet (UV) light and path integration to maintain a straight heading under both clear and mixed sky conditions, with only a small deviation in overall angle, and was even able to determine its heading under a foliage canopy. The authors also developed a waterproof, single-pixel version of the sensor for use under water.

Rob. Auton. Syst. 117, 40 (2019).

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