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Applied Bionics and Biomechanics
Volume 7, Issue 1, Pages 3-17

Identifying an Odour Source in Fluid-Advected Environments, Algorithms Abstracted from Moth-Inspired Plume Tracing Strategies

Wei Li1,2

1Department of Computer Science, California State University, Bakersfield, CA, USA
2Robotics State Key Laboratory, Shenyang Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences Shenyang, Liaoning, China

Received 7 December 2009

Copyright © 2010 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents algorithms for identifying the odour source of a chemical plume with significant filament intermittency and meander developed in fluid-advected environments. The algorithms are abstracted from moth-inspired chemical plume tracing strategies in two steps. First, we introduce the concept of the last chemical detection points that leads to construction of a source identification zone and development of two variations in the source identification algorithms. Second, we use Monte Carlo methods to optimise the proposed algorithms in a simulated environment. The evaluation results demonstrate that the optimised algorithm achieves a success rate of over 90% in identifying the source location, the average identification time is 3–4 min and the average error is 1–2 m surrounding the source location.