Bio-inspired Agile Flight

Office of Naval Research MURI N000141010952, collaboration with J. Baillieul, C. Belta, M. Betke, T. Hedrick, T. Horiuchi, S. Humbert, T. Kunz, I. Paschalidis, and J. Vagners

Our technical approach to address these challenges and to leverage biological capabilities for engineering systems is based on an integration of three scales: near-field with fast sensing and reactive behaviors, far-field with slower sensing and deliberative behaviors, and hybrid integration and fusion of these two times scales for multiscale behaviors. Existing work on these key elements of agile flight in biology and translation to engineering has provided initial, but limited, results largely for individual components. However, these results in individual areas, and the particular experience of our proposed research team, have now reached a level of maturity that can be leveraged for integration into a holistic approach.

The research to be undertaken in this project is a careful composition of biological investigations and engineering design. Each of the three scales provides a research thrust, and each of the thrusts addresses biological investigations specifically informed by engineering goals, engineering methods motivated by biological data, and an emergence of novel bio-inspired approaches across the boundary of engineering and biology. Moreover, in order to extract fundamental principles of biological agile flight, the biological investigations proposed herein address a range of organisms (bats, birds and insects) for which a range of questions will be explored from the neurological level to laboratory-based macroscale to open-field free-ranging flight.

Our proposed research will produce innovative results individually for biological investigations and for engineered systems and jointly for the integration of the two. The resulting engineering and science has high relevance to and impact on DoD capabilities, both for applications to the design of air vehicles, but also in terms of more widespread abilities in translation of capabilities from natural to engineered systems using systematic methodologies.