F. J. Smith



Many insects can navigate accurately using the polarized light from the sky. A study of a large number of experiments on the behaviour and anatomy of insects has led to a simple algorithm for navigation by skylight, suitable for a robot or drone in lightly clouded skies The algorithm is based on the special ability of insect eyes to measure the position of the 4 points in the sky at which the polarization angle, i.e. the angle χ between the polarized E-vector and the meridian, equals ±π/4. The azimuths of these 4 points are almost invariant to variable cloud cover, provided that polarized light is still detectable below the clouds. It is shown that the sum of these 4 azimuths can be turned into a celestial compass in a few short steps and a simulation shows that the compass is accurate as well as simple and well suited for a robot or drone. It can also explain many of the experimental results published on insect navigation.


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Paper Citation

in Harvard Style

Smith F. (2009). INSECT NAVIGATION BY POLARIZED LIGHT . In Proceedings of the International Conference on Bio-inspired Systems and Signal Processing - Volume 1: BIOSIGNALS, (BIOSTEC 2009) ISBN 978-989-8111-65-4, pages 363-368. DOI: 10.5220/0001553503630368

in Bibtex Style

author={F. J. Smith},
booktitle={Proceedings of the International Conference on Bio-inspired Systems and Signal Processing - Volume 1: BIOSIGNALS, (BIOSTEC 2009)},

in EndNote Style

JO - Proceedings of the International Conference on Bio-inspired Systems and Signal Processing - Volume 1: BIOSIGNALS, (BIOSTEC 2009)
SN - 978-989-8111-65-4
AU - Smith F.
PY - 2009
SP - 363
EP - 368
DO - 10.5220/0001553503630368