Tel Aviv Univ team creates bat-inspired robot navigates via echoes

Tinuku - Israeli researchers have developed an autonomous robot, the first of its kind in the world, that navigates as bats, only by hearing. Bats navigate their way by producing sounds and listening to the different echoes that return to them.

This easily solves one of the most complex problems in robotics. Researchers at Tel Aviv University, in the center of the state, with the support of the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology, have developed a robot called "Robat," that uses the biology of bats to navigate its way and map the environment by locating only echo.

Tinuku Tel Aviv Univ team creates bat-inspired robot navigates via echoes

This technology, which mimics the biology of the bat, has great potential in robotics. The robot, whose construction lasted about two years, is equipped with an ultrasonic speaker that mimics the bat's mouth and produces sounds in the frequencies typical of bat broadcasts.

The robot also has two "ears," which are actually two microphones that receive ultrasonic frequencies. It can move in unfamiliar environments in the open air, navigating its way in real time only through the sounds.

Reported on Penelitian the Robat draws the boundaries of objects in space, classifies them using a computer and thus produces an accurate map of its surroundings while avoiding obstacles. A study was published on Thursday in PLOS Computational Biology.

Today's robots are navigated mainly by visual-like sense, using cameras and laser. This control has drawbacks such as difficulty navigating in the dark, in dust or in smoke, for example under debris or fire.

In addition, transparent walls confuse robots, and they also find it difficult to see into obstacles like shrubs. The new robot, however, can pass through the bushes, because it can hear through the leaves.



This development may have major implications for the development of multi-sensory robots, as humans. The new robot also sheds light on the lives of the bats, such as understanding its sensory priorities and how it decodes signals in real time.

Today researchers are working next on building a group of robots that will navigate together, as some species of bats work in nature. They're also working on making the robot fly like a bat.

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