First Robot Made Without GPS Needed (Video)

Inspired by desert ants, designers have created a robot that can explore the surroundings and return home automatically.

On the basis of many studies by scientists, the phenomena in nature have reflections. When it comes to robots, it is possible to see traces of nature in many different places.

AntBot is a robot designed with inspiration from desert ants. The robot, which is designed based on these ants in the nature, is automatically returning home after discovering its surroundings randomly. As the first robot to perform these operations without the need of GPS or Mapping, AntBot presents a new way of navigating in autonomous vehicles and robots.


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The human eye does not respond well to polarized lights or ultraviolet rays. The ants position their position according to these lights. Cataglyphis desert ants are looking for food in the desert hundreds of meters walk and then return to their nests without getting lost.

Normally, ants follow paths by leaving pheromone secretion. One of the reasons for not being able to get out of the circles drawn by the gas pen is the discontinuation of the pheromone smell. These ants don't have a chance because the pheromone fluids in the desert immediately evaporate. For this reason, these creatures find their direction according to the polarized light coming from the sky, the position of the sun and the number of steps they took. The robot with an optical compass also has an optical motion sensor. The compass is polarized light and the optical motion sensor follows the position of the sun. After a distance of 14 meters, AntBot returned to the starting point with a deviation of less than 1 centimeter. The only six-legged six-foot robot can easily move in difficult terrain.


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The optical compass developed by the researchers is sensitive to polarized ultraviolet radiation in the sky. AntBot can thus find its position with a very small deviation.

The study also shows how important the study of biological organisms is for the science of robotics. The new robot provided a new insight into the robot's orientation and a new optical sensor and helped explain the movement of the desert ants.

The compass itself is an important invention. With two pixels with a polarized filter, this sensor has the same capability as an optical sensor consisting of two rows of 374 pixels. This reduces the cost of the sensor from 78 thousand euros to several hundred euros.