Home > Papers from 2015 > Rock ‘n’ roller

Rock ‘n’ roller

In a previous post I talked about the possibility that we might soon be able to build 3D models of the complex substrates over which ants have to navigate. This paper from Ardin et al looks at the consequences of uneven terrain on the success of view-based models of navigation. Firstly, high speed videography is used to extract the head pitch of desert ants during walking over uneven terrain, this shows that ants have to deal with large variations in pitch. When such pitch variations are included in a simple “alignment image matching” model of route navigation, performance is impacted greatly for recovery of heading direction from single stored views from. These errors are mitigated when one puts route navigation via “alignment image matching” into an iterative model (because randomly distributed errors often cancel and can be recovered from) but still, performance is worse when pitch variation is included versus a model of a flat world.
The modelling shows clearly that pitch variation is a problem that ants have to deal with. Future modelling should allow candidate ‘solutions’ to be explored. For instance it could be imagined that there are visual encoding schemes that treat azimuthal information in a priviledged way and as mentioned in the paper, there may be smart ways that ants can select or average the views that they store or use for matching.
Ardin, P., Mangan, M., Wystrach, A., & Webb, B. (2015). How variation in head pitch could affect image matching algorithms for ant navigation. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 1-13.


Categories: Papers from 2015
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