The Hawks control the pursuit of evading prey using a feedback system that differs fundamentally from the hawk interception system, according to a new study led by scientists at the University of Oxford, Department of Zoology, published today in Nature Communications.
This mixed guiding law allows falcons to seek agile prey through disordered habitats without being thrown out of pursuit by the erratic maneuvers of the prey's escape.
Previous research has shown that hawks intercepts prey using the same guiding missile guidance law, called proportional navigation. This guidance law is ideal against aerial targets that maneuver smoothly, but are prone to be thrown by the zigzag maneuvers of land prey such as hares or rabbits, and will not necessarily lead to a viable flight path through the disordered habitats that hawks frequent.
Researchers at Oxford University, Dr Caroline Brighton and Prof. Graham Taylor, used high-speed cameras to capture the flight trajectories of five Harris-captive Hawks for 50 flights against an erratic maneuvering target.
The Doctor. Brighton said, "We filmed our hawks flying behind a fictional bunny, which was an artificial target that we towed quickly around a series of sheaves arranged to produce an unpredictable course." Using video reconstruction techniques to measure the hawk's 3D trajectory and his target, we did a computer simulation to see how the hawk's attack behavior was modeled by different types of guiding law.
Researchers have found that Harris Hawks use a mixed-orientation law, where their shift rate is determined by information back at the angle between the direction of their target and their current flight direction, along with information on the rate at which they the direction your target is changing. Researchers argue that this mixed-guiding law reduces the risk of overshoot in the activities near which the hawks are adapted, but would produce an inefficient flight path if used in the hawk's long-range intercepting behaviors.
The discoveries have applications in the design of drones to chase and capture rogue drones in cluttered environments.
The prof. Taylor said, "The Gatwick incident last year showed how far we are from being able to quickly and safely remove rogue drones from a large open space, let alone the cluttered airspace of an urban environment. middle of the clutter, then we think they have a thing or two to teach us about designing a new type of drone that can safely pursue another.
This project received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (Grant Agreement No. 682501).
"Hawks conduct attacks using a tuned guidance system to search for erratic maneuvering targets" is available for viewing in Nature Communication.