Bio-Inspired Information Extraction In 3-D Environments Using Wide-Field Integration Of Optic Flow

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Hyslop, Andrew Maxwell
Humbert, James S
A control theoretic framework is introduced to analyze an information extraction approach from patterns of optic flow based on analogues to wide-field motion-sensitive interneurons in the insect visuomotor system. An algebraic model of optic flow is developed, based on a parameterization of simple 3-D environments. It is shown that estimates of proximity and speed, relative to these environments, can be extracted using weighted summations of the instantaneous patterns of optic flow. Small perturbation techniques are utilized to link weighting patterns to outputs, which are applied as feedback to facilitate stability augmentation and perform local obstacle avoidance and terrain following. Weighting patterns that provide direct linear mappings between the sensor array and actuator commands can be derived by casting the problem as a combined static state estimation and linear feedback control problem. Additive noise and environment uncertainties are incorporated into an offline procedure for determination of optimal weighting patterns. Several applications of the method are provided, with differing spatial measurement domains. Non-linear stability analysis and experimental demonstration is presented for a wheeled robot measuring optic flow in a planar ring. Local stability analysis and simulation is used to show robustness over a range of urban-like environments for a fixed-wing UAV measuring in orthogonal rings and a micro helicopter measuring over the full spherical viewing arena. Finally, the framework is used to analyze insect tangential cells with respect to the information they encode and to demonstrate how cell outputs can be appropriately amplified and combined to generate motor commands to achieve reflexive navigation behavior.