Bioinspired Magnetic Navigation Using Magnetic Signatures as Waypoints
Diverse taxa use Earth’s magnetic field in conjunction with other sensor modes to accomplish navigation tasks that range from local homing to long-distance migration across continents and ocean basins. However, despite extensive research, animal magnetoreception remains a poorly understood, and active research area. Concurrently, Earth’s magnetic field offers a signal that engineered systems can leverage for navigation and localization in environments where man-made systems such as GPS are either unavailable or unreliable. Using a proxy for Earth’s magnetic field, and inspired by migratory animal behavior, this work implements behavioral strategies to navigate through a series of magnetic waypoints. The strategies are able to navigate through a closed set of points, in some cases running through several “laps”. Successful trials were observed in both a range of environmental parameters, and varying levels of sensor noise. The study explores several of these parameter combinations in simulation, and presents preliminary results from a version of the strategy implemented on a mobile robot platform. Alongside success, limitations of the simulated and hardware algorithms are discussed. The results illustrate the feasibility of either an animal, or engineered platform to use a set of waypoints based on the magnetic field to navigate. Additionally, the work presents an engineering/quantitative biology approach that can garner insight into animal behavior while simultaneously illuminating paths of development for engineered algorithms and systems.
We thank Dr. Kevin Brink (AFRL/RWWI) for the use of his robotics laboratory for the hardware portion of this study.
- 6.Knecht, D.J., Shuman, B.M.: The geomagnetic field. In: Jursa, A. (ed.) Handbook of Geophysics and the Space Environment. Air Force Geophysics Laboratory (1985)Google Scholar
- 23.Painter, K.J., Hillen, T.: Individual and continuum models for homing in flowing environments. J. Royal Soc. Interface 12 (2015)Google Scholar
- 27.Servedio et al.: Not just a theory - the utility of mathematical models in evolutionary biology. PLoS Biol. 12 (2014). doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002017
- 28.Rutkowski, A.J.: A Biologically-inspired sensor fusion approach to tracking a wind-borne odor in three dimensions. PhD Dissertation, Case Western Reserve University (2008)Google Scholar
- 29.Rutter, B.L., Taylor, B.K., Bender, J.A., Blűmel, M.A., Lewinger, W.A., Ritzmann, R.E., Quinn, R.D.: Descending commands to an insect leg controller network cause smooth behavioral transitions. In: International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, pp. 215–220 (2011)Google Scholar
- 30.Rutter, B.L., Taylor, B.K., Bender, J.A., Blűmel, M.A., Lewinger, W.A., Ritzmann, R.E., Quinn, R.D.: Sensory coupled action switching modules (SCASM) for modeling and synthesis of biologically inspired coordination. In: International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots (2011)Google Scholar
- 32.Talley, J.L.: A comparison of flying Manduca sexta and walking Periplaneta americana male tracking behavior to female sex pheromones in different flow environments. Ph.D Dissertation, Case Western Reserve University (2010)Google Scholar
- 39.Huang, G., Taylor, B.K., Brink, K.M., Miller, M.M.: Engineered and bioinspired magnetic navigation, Institute of Navigation Pacific Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Meeting (2017)Google Scholar
- 41.Anderson, J.D.: Fundamentals of Aerodynamics, 3rd edn. McGraw-Hill, New York (2001)Google Scholar
- 43.Endres, C.S., Putman, N.F., Ernst, D.A., Kurth, J.A., Lohmann, C.M.F., Lohmann, K.J.: Modeling dual use of geomagnetic and chemical cues in island-finding. Frontiers Behav. Neurosci. 10 (2001)Google Scholar