Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 10 (NIPS 1997)
We implement a model of obstacle avoidance in flying insects on a small, monocular robot. The result is a system that is capable of rapid navigation through a dense obstacle field. The key to the system is the use of zigzag behavior to articulate the body during movement. It is shown that this behavior compensates for a parallax blind spot surrounding the focus of expansion nor(cid:173) mally found in systems without parallax behavior. The system models the coop(cid:173) eration of several behaviors: halteres-ocular response (similar to VOR), optomotor response, and the parallax field computation and mapping to motor system. The resulting system is neurally plausible, very simple, and should be easily hosted on a VLSI hardware.