To control flight speed, the visual system of the fruit fly extracts linear pattern velocity robustly over a broad range of spatio–temporal frequencies. The speed signal is used for a proportional control of flight speed within locomotor limits. The extraction of pattern velocity over a broad spatio–temporal frequency range may require more sophisticated motion processing mechanisms than those identified in flies so far. ... Finally, the high-level control principles identified in the fly can be meaningfully transferred into a robotic context, such as for the robust and efficient control of autonomous flying micro air vehicles.
In recent years autonomous, uncrewed flight vehicles have become increasingly common. Of course leaving out the crew can be useful for dangerous missions, but the absence of any personnel also allows for very small vehicles. There are applications for micro flight vehicles, and this work adds to a growing body of research on how the sophisticated designs of insects can be of use in such vehicles.