Vision as a Compensatory Mechanism for Disturbance Rejection in Upwind Flight

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Michael B. Reiser, J. Sean Humbert, Mary J. Dunlop, Domitilla Del Vecchio, Richard M. Murray, Michael H. Dickinson
2004 American Control Conference

Recent experimental results demonstrate that flies posses a robust tendency to orient towards the frontally-centered pole of the visual motion field that typically occurs during upwind flight. In this paper we present a closed loop flight model, with a control algorithm based on feedback of the location of the visual pole of contraction, which is affected by changes in wind direction. The feasibility of visually guided upwind orientation is demonstrated with a model derived from current understanding of the biomechanics and sensorimotor computation of insects. The matched filter approach used to model the visual system computations compares extremely well with open-loop experimental data.