A Control-Oriented Analysis of Bio-Inspired Visuomotor Convergence

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J. Sean Humbert and Richard M. Murray and Michael H. Dickinson
2005 Conference on Decision and Control (CDC)

Insects exhibit unparalleled and incredibly robust flight dynamics in the face of uncertainties. A fundamental principle contributing to this amazing behavior is rapid processing and convergence of visual sensory information to flight motor commands via spatial wide-field integration, accomplished by motion pattern sensitive interneurons in the lobula plate portion of the visual ganglia. Within a control-theoretic framework, a model for wide-field integration of retinal image flow is developed, establishing the connection between image flow kernels (retinal motion pattern sensitivities) and the feedback terms they represent. It is demonstrated that the proposed output feedback methodology is sufficient to give rise to experimentally observed navigational heuristics as the centering and forward speed regulation responses exhibited by honeybees.