This walking robot can explore destination without GPS: Here's how
New Delhi : Scientists have developed the first walking robot that can easily find its way home without GPS or mapping. The invention is indeed opening new prospects for the navigation of autonomous vehicles.
Experts from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) took inspiration from desert ants, which are extraordinary solitary navigators, to design the AntBot. It's worth mentioning that ants use polarised light and ultraviolet radiation to locate themselves in space.
Cataglyphis desert ants can walk several hundreds of metres in direct sunlight in the desert to find food, than return in a straight line to the nest, without getting lost. AntBot copies the desert ants' exceptional navigation capacities, allowing it to explore without using Global Positioning System (GPS), researchers said.
The walking robot is equipped with an optical compass used to determine its heading by means of polarised light, and by an optical movement sensor directed to the Sun to measure the distance covered. Supporting this information, AntBot has been shown to be able, like the desert ants, to explore its environment and to return on its own to its base, with the precision of up to one centimetre after having covered a total distance of 14 metres.
The robot weighs about 2.3 kg and has six feet for increased mobility, allowing it to move in complex environments, precisely where deploying wheeled robots and drones can be complicated. The optical compass developed by the scientists is sensitive to the sky's polarised ultraviolet radiation. Using this "celestial compass," AntBot measures its heading with precision by clear or cloudy weather.
AntBot highlights new understanding on how desert ants navigate, by testing several models that biologists have imagined to mimic this animal, researchers said. As of now, scientists are studying how to operate this robot at night or over longer distances, before applying the invention in aerial robotics or in the automobile industry.