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First walking robot that navigates without GPS

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Scientists claim to have developed the first walking that can explore its environment and find its way home without or mapping, opening new avenues for the navigation of autonomous vehicles.

Researchers from the for Scientific Research (CNRS) took inspiration from desert ants, which are extraordinary solitary navigators, to design the AntBot.

Ants use polarised light and ultraviolet to locate themselves in space. ants in particular can cover several hundreds of metres in direct sunlight in the desert to find food, then return in a straight line to the nest, without getting lost.

AntBot copies the desert ants' exceptional navigation capacities, allowing it to explore without using (GPS), researchers said.

It is equipped with an optical compass used to determine its heading by means of polarised light, and by an optical movement sensor directed to the Sun to measure the distance covered.

Armed with this information, AntBot has been shown to be able, like the desert ants, to explore its environment and to return on its own to its base, with precision of up to one centimetre after having covered a total distance of 14 metres.

Weighing only 2.3 kg, this has six feet for increased mobility, allowing it to move in complex environments, precisely where deploying wheeled robots and drones can be complicated.

The optical compass developed by the scientists is sensitive to the sky's polarised ultraviolet Using this "celestial compass," AntBot measures its heading with precision by clear or cloudy weather.

AntBot brings new understanding on how desert ants navigate, by testing several models that biologists have imagined to mimic this animal, researchers said.

Before exploring in aerial or in the automobile industry, for example, progress must be made, for instance in how to operate this at night or over longer distances.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 14 2019. 12:30 IST