No Need for Landmarks: An Embodied Neural Controller for Robust Insect-Like Navigation Behaviors

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Bayesian filters have been considered to help refine and develop theoretical views on spatial cell functions for self-localization. However, extending a Bayesian filter to reproduce insect-like navigation behaviors (e.g., home searching) remains an open and challenging problem. To address this problem, we propose an embodied neural controller for self-localization, foraging, backward homing (BH), and home searching of an advanced mobility sensor (AMOS)-driven insect-like robot. The controller, comprising a navigation module for the Bayesian self-localization and goal-directed control of AMOS and a locomotion module for coordinating the 18 joints of AMOS, leads to its robust insect-like navigation behaviors. As a result, the proposed controller enables AMOS to perform robust foraging, BH, and home searching against various levels of sensory noise, compared to conventional controllers. Its implementation relies only on self-localization and heading perception, rather than global positioning and landmark guidance. Interestingly, the proposed controller makes AMOS achieve spiral searching patterns comparable to those performed by real insects. We also demonstrated the performance of the controller for real-time indoor and outdoor navigation in a real insect-like robot without any landmark and cognitive map.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Cybernetics
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)12893-12904
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Backward homing (BH)
  • Biological system modeling
  • foraging
  • Insects
  • Legged locomotion
  • Navigation
  • neural control
  • path integration (PI)
  • Robot kinematics
  • Robot sensing systems
  • Robots
  • self-localization.
  • Locomotion/physiology
  • Insecta/physiology
  • Animals
  • Bayes Theorem


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