‘Spidey senses’ could help self driving cars avoid crashes

Washington: Scientists are incorporating spider-inspired sensors into the shells of autonomous drones and cars so that they can better detect and avoid objects. Better sensing capabilities would make it possible for drones to navigate in dangerous environments and for cars to prevent accidents caused by human error, said researchers from Purdue University in the US.

Current state-of-the-art sensor technology doesn’t process data fast enough — but nature does, according to the study published in the journal ACS Nano. Researchers built sensors inspired by spiders, bats, birds and other animals, whose actual spidey senses are nerve endings linked to special neurons called mechanoreceptors.

The nerve endings — mechanosensors — only detect and process information essential to an animal’s survival. They come in the form of hair, cilia or feathers. There is already an explosion of data that intelligent systems can collect — and this rate is increasing faster than what conventional computing would be able to process,” said Andres Arrieta, an assistant professor.

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