Scientists seek inspiration from locusts in attempt to reduce car crashes

Insect has a fast and accurate warning system which enables it to detect approaching objects and avoid them

Scientists hoping to help prevent car crashes have created a computer system which they say was inspired by a swarm of locusts.

The scientists, from the universities of Lincoln and Newcastle, have discovered that the inspiring-insect has a fast and accurate warning system which enables it to detect approaching objects and avoid them while in flight.

Based on these findings, the team behind the findings have created a computer system which they believe could become an early prototype for a technology that could prevent collisions

Professor Shigang Yue, from the University of Lincoln's school of computer science, said: “We were inspired by the way the locusts' visual system works when interacting with the outside world and the potential to simulate such complex systems in software and hardware for various applications.

“We created a system inspired by the locusts' motion sensitive interneuron - the lobula giant movement detector.

“This system was then used in a robot to enable it to explore paths or interact with objects, effectively using visual input only.”

Prof Yue added that building a working system was a major research challenge.

She continued: “Vision plays a critical role in the interaction of most animal species and even relatively low-order animals have remarkable visual processing capabilities.

“For example, insects can respond to approaching predators with remarkable speed.

“This research demonstrates that modelling biologically plausible, artificial visual neural systems can provide new solutions for computer vision in dynamic environments.

“For example, it could be used to enable vehicles to understand what is happening on the road ahead and take swifter action.”

The research was carried out as part of a collaborative project with the University of Hamburg in Germany and Tsinhua University and Xi'an Jiaotong University in China.

Dr Claire Rind, from Newcastle University's institute for neuroscience, said: “Developing robot neural network programmes, based on the locust brain, has allowed us to create a programme allowing a mobile robot to detect approaching objects and avoid them.

“It's not the conventional approach as it avoids using a radar or infrared detectors, which require very heavy-duty computer processing.

“Instead, it is modelled on the locust's eyes and neurones as the basis of a collision avoidance system.”

Dr Rind added: “While some collision-avoidance features are pricey options on luxury cars, their performance is not always as good as it could be - and they come at a high cost.

“This research offers us important insights into how we can develop a system for the car which could improve performance to such a level that we could take out the element of human error.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?