About us

We are an internationally-leading biomechanics research team specialising in the dynamics, guidance, and control of flight, with an increasing emphasis on natural and artificial intelligence. Based in Oxford's Department of Biology, our work combines fundamental research on animal flight with translational research on bio-inspired engineering and computer vision.

We seek to understand the mechanisms and architectures of the biological systems we study with the same depth and rigour as an engineer or computer scientist developing a technical system. More ambitiously, we aim to use this insight to uncover the functional “design” principles that emerge through the evolutionary interaction of learning, natural selection, and physical constraint.

Our applied goal is to identify new guidance and control algorithms, new deep network architectures, and new hardware solutions, to guide the design of new technologies. Applications range from biomimetic sensors to bio-inspired autonomous systems and bio-informed design of the built environment.

More fundamentally we aim to understand – and ultimately predict – how these same organizational principles and algorithms emerge from the interaction of physics and physiology that characterizes life.

We achieve this by combining state-of-the-art experimental facilities, ground-breaking imaging techniques, and technically challenging fieldwork with advanced mathematical theory in a diverse, inter-disciplinary research programme.

The Oxford Flight Group is led by Professor Graham Taylor. Our first spinout company, Animal Dynamics, is led by Professor Adrian Thomas.

Most of the recent research described on this website has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant Agreement No. 682501) on Project HawkEye.