Modeling Ant Navigation with an Autonomous Agent

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4 Author(s)

The ability to navigate in a complex environment is crucial for both animals and robots. Many animals use a combination of strategies to return to significant locations in their environment. For example, the desert ant Gata glyphis is able to explore its desert habitat for hundreds of meters while foraging and return back to its nest precisely and on a straight line. The three main strategies that Gata glyphis is using to accomplish this task are path integration, visual piloting and systematic search (Wehner et al., 1996). In this study, we use the autonomous agents approach (Pfeifer, 1996) to gain additional insights into the navigation behavior of Gata glyphis. Inspired by the insect's navigation system we have constructed mechanisms for path integration and visual piloting that were successfully employed on the mobile robot Sahabot 2. The results of the navigation experiments indicate that a combination of these two mechanisms is capable to guide the agent precisely back to the target position.