Workshop Overview


The focus of this workshop is a half-day review of recent advances and future in sensing and actuation for bioinspired agile flight.


In engineered systems, sensors are typically complex in terms of computational requirements, weight and physical design and have typically been designed to provide data on individual quantities with high density. Conversely, biological systems employ a high number of simple sensors that provide data for limited portions of a quantity of interest and which must be fused across both spatial and time scales. These biological systems demonstrate the ability to fly effectively in highly cluttered environments such as under the forest canopy, safely land on variable and moving terrain (e.g. branches or vertical walls), operate with highly variable lighting and acoustic conditions, and achieve desired behaviors in the presence of extreme environmental perturbations such as wind and adversaries.  During the past several years, interdisciplinary collaborations between engineers, computer scientists and biologists have been focused on developing tools and processes for translating biological capabilities for agile flight in dynamic, complex and unknown environments to appropriate designs and algorithms for engineered flight vehicles.  The intent of this workshop is to bring together members of academia, industry and the government to discuss state-of-the-art, recent developments, open problems and next steps. 


The format of the workshop will be a mix of technical presentations that will include tutorial elements to ensure engagement of nonexperts in each of the topics, open discussion and poster presentations.  Desired outcomes of the workshop will be broader connections and use of the tools between academia and industry, new interdisciplinary collaborations between participants and long-term participation in this area from students and young researchers.

The speakers for the technical presentations are primarily drawn from the membership of two ONR Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative projects funded in 2010 on the topic of “Provably-Safe Perception-Based Control for Autonomous UAS Operations around Complex, Unstructured Terrain”.  Posters will be solicited broadly from the academic and industrial communities in engineering (particularly UAS), computer science and biology.

  • biological sensing (vision, mechanosensing, auditory) at short and extended temporal and spatial scales 
  • data collection and distillation in laboratory and field settings
  • trajectory planning in biological and engineered flight at different time scales (reactionary versus deliberative)
  • integration of sensing and motion planning
  • optimization
  • provable methods

Workshop agenda (subject to some adjustment)


Welcome and Introductions
Kristi Morgansen, University of Washington

1:35 - 2:15

Panel on biological data collection methods and data sets available
Ty Hedrick, UNC
Margrit Betke, Boston University
Tom Daniel, University of Washington

2:45 - 3:00

Poster highlights (selected)
1-2 minutes/one slide per poster

3:00 – 3:30

Coffee break and poster session

3:30 - 4:00

Panel on high speed sensing and path planning
Kristi Morgansen, University of Washington
Martial Hebert, CMU
John Baillieul, Boston University

4:00 - 4:30

Panel on optimization and provability
Yannis Paschalidis, Boston University
Calin Belta, Boston University

4:30 – 5:00

Funding agency overview of opportunities
Marc Steinberg, ONR
Others from DoE, DARPA, ARO, AFOSR, NSF


Conclusion/Social event