Decoupling the Eye: A Key Toward a Robust Hovering for Sighted Aerial Robots

Inspired by natural visual systems where gaze stabilization is at a premium, we simulated an aerial robots with a decoupled eye to achieve more robust hovering above a ground target despite strong lateral and rotational disturbances. In this paper, two different robots are compared for the same disturbances and displacements. The first robot is equipped with a fixed eye featuring a large field-of-view (FOV) and the second robot is endowed with a decoupled eye featuring a small FOV (about ±5°). Even if this mechanical decoupling increases the mechanical complexity of the robot, this study demonstrates that disturbances are rejected faster and computational complexity is clearly decreased. Thanks to bio-inspired visuo-motor reflexes, the decoupled eye robot is able to hold its gaze locked onto a distant target and to reject strong disturbances by profiting of the small inertia of the decoupled eye.