Opendata, web and dolomites


Vision-based Guidance and Control in Birds, with Applications to Autonomous Unmanned Aircraft

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 HawkEye project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the HawkEye project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "HawkEye" about.

capture    guide    revolutionize    almost    senses    rules    fleeting    hedgerow    oeil    hawk    consolidator    vision    good    world    perching    un    negotiation    avoidance    implications    guided    shooting    undergrowth    carry    besides    attend    facility    wings    engineering    omission    prey    insights    versus    unmanned    custom    ground    cues    eye    eyes    overarching    questions    unfortunate    starting    onto    estimation    grant    roof    gap    lies    formidable    autonomy    une    combining    imagine    erc    longstanding    aile    unambiguously    motion    underlying    directions    ambitions    coming    extraordinary    avian    poised    assume    pursuit    autonomous    techniques    largely    nothing    underpinning    opportunity    surprisingly    precise    dynamics    settling    little    building    drawing    aircraft    cars    algorithmic    flight    plunging    law    loop    break    whilst    obstacles    birds    revolution    emerges    par    moving    identification    guidance    laws    human    career    nevertheless    bird    once    suite    insect    perception    driverless    possess    obstacle    see    feedback   

Project "HawkEye" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: OXFORD
postcode: OX1 2JD

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Project website
 Total cost 2˙492˙266 €
 EC max contribution 2˙492˙266 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-CoG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-08-01   to  2021-07-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Birds have been called “une aile guidée par un oeil”, and whilst they possess many senses besides vision, their wings are indeed guided largely by their eyes. Nevertheless, we know surprisingly little of how birds use vision to guide their flight, and almost nothing of the underlying guidance and control laws. This is an extraordinary omission, and unfortunate given the importance that vision is poised to assume in autonomous unmanned aircraft. With good reason, the law still requires a human eye to remain in the loop, but as with the coming revolution in driverless cars, the future of flight lies in autonomy. I see a once-in-a-career opportunity here: we need only imagine a hawk, shooting over the top of a hedgerow then plunging through the undergrowth onto its fleeting prey, to see what engineering could learn. Building upon the success of my ERC Starting Grant on Bird and Insect Flight Dynamics and Control, my proposed Consolidator Grant has two overarching ambitions: 1) to revolutionize our understanding of vision-based guidance and control in birds; and 2) to carry these insights over to application in unmanned autonomous aircraft. This presents a formidable technical challenge, but by combining a state-of-the-art motion capture suite with targets/obstacles moving under motion control in a custom-built facility, I will use system identification techniques to unambiguously identify the guidance and control laws underpinning perching, pursuit, obstacle avoidance, and gap negotiation in birds. More than this, I will identify the precise motion cues to which they attend, settling longstanding questions on the extent to which guidance emerges from simple algorithmic rules versus state feedback and estimation, with wider implications for our understanding of avian perception. This work will break new ground in all directions, testing applied insights in the same facility, and so leading the world in drawing the study of birds and aircraft together under one roof.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Caroline H. Brighton, Graham K. Taylor
Hawks steer attacks using a guidance system tuned for close pursuit of erratically manoeuvring  targets
published pages: , ISSN: 2041-1723, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-10454-z
Nature Communications 10/1 2019-09-04
2019 Lucy A. Taylor, Graham K. Taylor, Ben Lambert, James A. Walker, Dora Biro, Steven J. Portugal
Birds invest wingbeats to keep a steady head and reap the ultimate benefits of flying together
published pages: e3000299, ISSN: 1545-7885, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000299
PLOS Biology 17/6 2019-09-04
2019 Robin Mills, Graham K. Taylor, Charlotte K. Hemelrijk
Sexual size dimorphism, prey morphology and catch success in relation to flight mechanics in the peregrine falcon: a simulation study
published pages: , ISSN: 0908-8857, DOI: 10.1111/jav.01979
Journal of Avian Biology 50/3 2019-04-16

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