New anti-collision technology is inspired by swarming insects

March 19, 2018 // By Ally Winning
The University of Lincoln will lead a team to develop a new sensor for driverless vehicles, which aims to use insect swarm behaviour to make autonomous vehicles safe for humans.

The research will be funded by the European Union as part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. It brings together experts in hardware and software systems and robotics, invertebrate visual neuroscientists, invertebrate vision modellers, mixed-signal chip designers, robotics platform providers, and brain-inspired pattern recognition from universities in the UK, Germany, China, Japan, Malaysia and South America.

The safety of autonomous vehicles around other vehicles and hazards is a stumbling block in their development. The ULTRACEPT project, which stands for Ultra-layered perception with brain-inspired information processing for vehicle collision avoidance is intended to develop a new sensor-based system for driverless vehicles that will increase safety.

Professor Shigang Yue, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Lincoln, is leading the ULTRACEPT project. He said: “Biology provides a rich source of inspiration for artificial visual systems for collision detection and avoidance. Naturally evolved vision systems provide ideal models to develop an artificial system for collision detection and avoidance, and we hope that in the future, each vehicle, with or without a driver, will be well equipped with an innovative sensor to navigate as effectively as animals do.”

The ULTRACEPT system will incorporate near-range collision detection technology, long-range hazard perception, and thermal-based collision detection tools. The project will build on Professor Yue’s expertise in developing autonomous navigation of mobile robots based on the locust’s unique visual system, as well as the work carried out as part of the previous ‘Spatial-Temporal Information Processing for Collision Detection in Dynamic Environments’ (STEP2DYNA) research project, also led by the University of Lincoln.

The University of Lincoln is working with Hamburg University and Newcastle University for STEP2DYNA, plus partners from the University of Buenos Aires in South America, Kyushu University in Japan, and Chinese institutions, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Xi’an Jiaotong University and Tsinghua University.

Joining the consortium for ULTRACEPT is the University of Münster, Universiti Putra Malaysia, National University Corporation Tokyo University of


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