In the summer of 2009, in an abandoned field on the outskirts of Seville, Spain, we recorded these paths in the Spanish desert ant species Cataglyphis velox [1]. In addition we mapped the area around the nest, allowing the creation of a realistic 3D simulated ant habitat [2].  Combining these data with the known optical properties of the ant eye we can recreate the visual experience of each ant as she travelled her route (Mangan et al, in preparation). The panoramic "ant-eye" view for a point in the ant world looks likes this:

 

Example of the world as viewed by the ant

 

Do you think your model of visual navigation (biologically inspired or engineered) can navigate this world as well as the humble ant?  Click here to download the homeward routes of ants, the 3D world, and the Matlab code to generate the ant eye perspective (currently only suitable for use on Linux and Mac):

Seville 2009 Navigation Challenge

Note new challenges will be uploaded soon!

References

[1] M. Mangan., B. Webb. Spontaneous formation of multiple routes in individual desert ants (Cataglyphis velox). Behavioral Ecology 23:944-954 (2012).

[2] M. Mangan., Visual Homing in field crickets and desert ants: a comparative behavioural and modelling study. PhD Thesis, University of Edinburgh (2011).

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