Optimal switching strategies for navigation in stochastic settings

Kavli Affiliate: L. Mahadevan

| First 5 Authors: F. Mori, L. Mahadevan, , ,

| Summary:

Inspired by the intermittent reorientation strategy seen in the behavior of
the dung beetle, we consider the problem of the navigation strategy of an
active Brownian particle moving in two dimensions. We assume that the heading
of the particle can be reoriented to the preferred direction by paying a fixed
cost as it tries to maximize its total displacement in a fixed direction. Using
optimal control theory, we derive analytically and confirm numerically the
strategy that maximizes the particle speed, and show that the average time
between reorientations scales inversely with the magnitude of the environmental
noise. We then extend our framework to describe execution errors and sensory
acquisition noise. Our approach may be amenable to other navigation problems
involving multiple sensory modalities that require switching between egocentric
and geocentric strategies.

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