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BEES: Exploring Mars with Bioinspired Technologies
September 2004 (vol. 37 no. 9)
pp. 38-47
Sarita Thakoor, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
John Michael Morookian, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Javaan Chahl, Australian National University
Butler Hine, NASA Ames Research Center
Steve Zornetzer, NASA Ames Research Center
To enable autonomous flight, the authors apply bioinspired engineering of exploration systems technology to the development of bioinspired visual navigation sensors integrated on small flyers. They drew their inspiration for these BEES designs from insects, which use ingenious strategies,including optic flow, for navigating successfully in three dimensions.

Distilling these principles from biology enables the development of efficient, compact, yet sophisticated autopilots for robotic aircraft embarking on planetary exploration missions. Their bioinspired sensor suite consists of dragonfly-inspired ocelli for flight stabilization and attitude referencing; honeybee-inspired optic flow for terrain following, lateral-drift containment, and localization; and sun and sky polarization-based compassing.

Citation:
Sarita Thakoor, John Michael Morookian, Javaan Chahl, Butler Hine, Steve Zornetzer, "BEES: Exploring Mars with Bioinspired Technologies," Computer, vol. 37, no. 9, pp. 38-47, Sept. 2004, doi:10.1109/MC.2004.119
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