Perception and steering control in paired bat flight
Fuller, Nathan W.
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CitationZhaodan Kong, Kayhan Oezcimder, Nathan W Fuller, Diane Theriault, Magrit Betke, John Baillieul. 2014. "Perception and Steering Control in Paired Bat Flight." IFAC PAPERSONLINE, v. 47, issue 3, pp. 5276 - 5282 (7).
Animals within groups need to coordinate their reactions to perceived environmental features and to each other in order to safely move from one point to another. This paper extends our previously published work on the flight patterns of Myotis velifer that have been observed in a habitat near Johnson City, Texas. Each evening, these bats emerge from a cave in sequences of small groups that typically contain no more than three or four individuals, and they thus provide ideal subjects for studying leader-follower behaviors. By analyzing the flight paths of a group of M. velifer, the data show that the flight behavior of a follower bat is influenced by the flight behavior of a leader bat in a way that is not well explained by existing pursuit laws, such as classical pursuit, constant bearing and motion camouflage. Thus we propose an alternative steering law based on virtual loom, a concept we introduce to capture the geometrical configuration of the leader-follower pair. It is shown that this law may be integrated with our previously proposed vision-enabled steering laws to synthesize trajectories, the statistics of which fit with those of the bats in our data set. The results suggest that bats use perceived information of both the environment and their neighbors for navigation.