A real-time helicopter testbed for insect-inspired visual flight control
The paper describes an indoor helicopter testbed that allows implementing and testing of bio-inspired control algorithms developed from scientific studies on insects. The helicopter receives and is controlled by simulated sensory inputs (e.g. visual stimuli) generated in a virtual 3D environment, where the connection between the physical world and the virtual world is provided by a video camera tracking system. The virtual environment is specified by a 3D computer model and is relatively simple to modify compared to realistic scenes. This enables rapid examinations of whether a certain control law is robust under various environments, an important feature of insect behavior. As a first attempt, flight stabilization and yaw rate control near hover are demonstrated, utilizing biologically realistic visual stimuli as in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.
© 2009 IEEE. The authors would like to thank Sawyer Fuller and Francisco Zabala for helpful discussions on helicopter control and hardware implementations. This work is supported in part through the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnology (ICB), the Boeing Corporation, and the California Institute of Technology.
Published - 05152667.pdf