A robotic bat head that can emit and detect ultrasound in the band of frequencies used by the world’s bats will give echolocation research a huge boost.
"Whenever a robot team wants to build
an autonomous robot they look at sonar first, but they quickly run into
problems due to the simple nature of commercial sonar systems, and
switch to vision or laser-ranging. We hope that the research we can now
do with the robotic bat will lead to more sophisticated sonar systems
being used for robot navigation and other applications," he says.
One of the problems with remote sensing is identification. If accurate identification of an object is possible through redundant systems — visual and echolocation — robots may be more autonomous.