Bumblebees minimize control challenges by combining active and passive modes in unsteady winds

  title={Bumblebees minimize control challenges by combining active and passive modes in unsteady winds},
  author={Sridhar Ravi and Dmitry Kolomenskiy and Thomas Engels and Kai Schneider and Chun Wang and J{\"o}rn Sesterhenn and Hao Liu},
  journal={Scientific Reports},
The natural wind environment that volant insects encounter is unsteady and highly complex, posing significant flight-control and stability challenges. It is critical to understand the strategies insects employ to safely navigate in natural environments. We combined experiments on free flying bumblebees with high-fidelity numerical simulations and lower-order modeling to identify the mechanics that mediate insect flight in unsteady winds. We trained bumblebees to fly upwind towards an artificial… 

Bees with attitude: the effects of directed gusts on flight trajectories

The effect of atmospheric gusts on the flight trajectories of bumblebees is reported, reporting motion of flight influenced by gusts along with flapping-enabled control strategies that could be necessary elements of flight at this scale.

Hawkmoth flight in the unsteady wakes of flowers

System identification of flower tracking reveals that moths also display reduced-order dynamics in wind compared with still air, and persistence of a stable LEV during decreased flower tracking demonstrates the interplay between hovering and maneuvering.

Added costs of insect-scale flapping flight in unsteady airflows

It is shown that body rotations experienced by flapping wing fliers result in the reorientation of the aerodynamic force vector that can render a substantial cumulative deficit in the vertical force.

Unsteady bio-fluid dynamics in flying and swimming

Flying and swimming in nature present sophisticated and exciting ventures in biomimetics, which seeks sustainable solutions and solves practical problems by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns,

Impact of turbulence on flying insects in tethered and free flight: High-resolution numerical experiments

Flapping insects are remarkably agile fliers, adapted to a highly turbulent environment. We present a series of high resolution numerical simulations of a bumblebee interacting with turbulent inflow.

A Three-axis PD Control Model for Bumblebee Hovering Stabilization

Results demonstrate that the stabilizing control model is capable of achieving the hovering stabilization with small perturbations in terms of 6-DoF, implying that the simplified linear algorithms can still work reasonably for bumblebee hovering.

Generating controlled gusts using vortex rings

The method described here can be used to study diverse phenomena ranging from natural flight and swimming in insects, birds, bats and fishes, to the artificial flight of drones and micro-aerial vehicles.

Robustness strategies in bio-inspired flight systems: morphology, dynamics and flight control

The state of the art of flying biomechanics in terms of flapping wing aerodynamics, flexible wing and wing-hinge dynamics, passive and active mechanisms in stabilization and control, as well as flapping flight in unsteady environments are presented.



Rolling with the flow: bumblebees flying in unsteady wakes

Bumblebees appeared to be most sensitive to disturbance along the lateral axis, displaying large lateral accelerations, translations and rolling motions in response to both unsteady flow conditions, regardless of orientation.

Kinematic strategies for mitigating gust perturbations in insects

Honey bees and stalk-eye flies coordinated asymmetric and symmetric kinematics in response to gusts, which provides model strategies for simple yet robust flight characteristics for MAVs.

Hawkmoth flight stability in turbulent vortex streets

Flight effects produced by the cylinder wakes were qualitatively similar among the recirculating and vortex-dominated wake regions; the magnitude of those effects, however, declined gradually with downstream distance.

Hawkmoth flight performance in tornado-like whirlwind vortices

Vertical vortex systems such as tornadoes dramatically affect the flight control and stability of aircraft. However, the control implications of smaller scale vertically oriented vortex systems for

Into turbulent air: size-dependent effects of von Kármán vortex streets on hummingbird flight kinematics and energetics

The findings suggest that vortical flows frequently encountered by aerial taxa in diverse environments may impose substantial energetic costs.

Aerodynamics, sensing and control of insect-scale flapping-wing flight

There are nearly a million known species of flying insects and 13 000 species of flying warm-blooded vertebrates, including mammals, birds and bats. While in flight, their wings not only move forward

Correction to ‘Aerodynamics, sensing and control of insect-scale flapping-wing flight’

In this article, recent advances in insect-scale flapping-wing aerodynamics, flexible wing structures, unsteady flight environment, sensing, stability and control are reviewed with perspective offered.

Animal flight dynamics II. Longitudinal stability in flapping flight.

This work uses quasi-static and blade element approaches to analyse the stability provided by a flapping wing and finds that there is noting inherently destabilizing about flapping: beating the wings faster simply amplifies any existing stability or instability, and flapping can even enhance stability compared to gliding at the same air speed.

Animal flight dynamics I. Stability in gliding flight.

Using the pitching moment equations for gliding animals and by discussing potential sources of roll and yaw stability, it is found that flying animals possess a far higher degree of inherent stability than has generally been recognized.

Wing wear, aerodynamics and flight energetics in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris): an experimental study

The results indicate that an increase of flight cost due to wing wear is not a likely explanation for increased mortality rate in bumblebees, and wing wear may, however, affect escape performance from predators.