Sunday , June 13 2021

How do flying bees make perfect turns?

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

If you have ever lost the balance in a bus that is running at a speed or you feel the slipping of the car when you move too quickly across a corner, you've experienced the effects of a centrifugal force. Turning while moving at the same time creates a force that pulls the turning object away from the direction of rotation. The sooner you go and the steeper the order, the greater the centrifugal force you feel, the more likely you will lose control.

This is why we and other animals tend to slow down when we approach the turn. Scientists observe this behavior in several animals; however, Professor Mandiam Srinivasan's laboratory is the first to mathematically analyze the relationship between velocity, curvature, and centrifugal force in this phenomenon.

The bees have a constant centrifugal force while rotating

Study of the PhD. The student Mahadeswara Mandiyam and Professor Srinivasan at the Queensland Institute of Brainworks, UK, used a high-speed multi-camera system to capture video from bees taking place outside their hive when the entrance was temporarily blocked, creating a "bee cloud" outside from the basket.

This type of semi-open experiment "bee cloud" is the first of its kind, and is significantly closer to the reality than previous experiments used to study behavior to avoid collision in bees.

High-speed videos were mathematically analyzed to study the behavior of bees in the cloud.

Professor Srinivasan and Mr. Mandiam hoped that they would better understand the complex maneuvering to maintain the desired trajectory of the flight without turning off the centrifugal force.

The speed, acceleration, and sharpness of the bee's turn were calculated by vector calculations to examine how the bees maintain rotation control.

Scientists have found that the rate of bees decreases when it enters the line and increases when exiting. This mathematically confirms the observations of the conversion of other animals, such as fruit flies, bats and horses.

Significantly, the bees could retain greatly constant centripetal acceleration while spinning, no matter how sharp the spinning or how fast the bees traveled, thus minimizing the effects of the centrifugal force on their flight path. The centripetal force pulls the object towards the center of rotation, while the centrifugal force pushes it out of the center.

The bees adapt their speed to keep their forces constant, a new study by the Queensland Institute of Brain Hospitals suggests. Findings can be applied to robots and autonomous vehicles. Credit: University of Queensland

Bees slow their speed to keep their forces constant

The researchers assumed that this constant centripetal acceleration was a result of the active efforts of the bees to reduce the "bonds" or the loss of control caused by the excess centrifugal force (as when the bus turns too fast and falls) through the management of their speed.

"When the bee makes a turn, it cleverly reduces the speed in an appropriate way, so the centrifugal force it experiences is always constant," said Mr. Mandiam.

"The sharper turn is and the faster the bee is, the greater the centrifugal force the bee will experience, the bee deals with this deceleration problem when it becomes sharper," he said.

Interestingly, the bees did not show any preference for left or right turns, which can be an important aspect of avoiding a collision with animals.

The researchers also found that bees were kept for the same amount of acceleration during double spins and close encounters with other bees, which means that the beaker's rotation is the same, regardless of the context.

The researchers are now exploring the sensory information used to guide maneuvers for avoiding clashes during these related twists.

Towards creating better flight control

Bees with flying have long been of interest to Professor Srinivasan and his laboratory. They hope to use a greater understanding of the behavior of bees in order to engage in aerial robots and ground vehicles with advanced flight control and navigation capabilities.

"Our main goal is to see how bees avoid clashes, which is the central goal of my doctorate," said Mr. Mandiam.

"This understanding can be used in robotics, and also applies to aircraft, as well as to land vehicles.

"If the vehicle is to negotiate a sharp turn, it must do so so that the centrifugal force is within certain controllable limits, otherwise it can be fired into what is called a side assembly."

"We can apply our knowledge of how bees perform coordinated upheavals in these situations to avoid airborne and land vehicle impacts."

The newspaper was published in Scientific reports.

Explore further:
Learning about birds and bees helps a flight to help

More information:
Mandiam J. Mahadaswara et al., Coordinated behavior of individual apiaries, Scientific reports (2018). DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-018-35307-5

Reference in the newspaper:
Scientific reports

Provided by:
University of Queensland

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