I would say the best example of this in the insect world are ants. They have a clear destination. They use collision avoidance. And they often have a predefined path--prepared by the dragging thoraxes of the "lead ant."
Impressive, for something with just a compass and altitude sensor. But isn't the Rumba vacuum cleaner already doing something like this? Granted the Rumba doesn't have a 'destination' to speak of but relies on bumping into surfaces to re-orient itself.
So, just give it a compass heading, and presumably some sort of altitude range and destination coordinates(?), and it will muddle its way through without collision avoidance system complexities.
Imagine applying such a scheme to self-driving? The "muddle through" approach. It would take a lot of trial and error to find the correct path, and you'd have cars that look more like bumper cars, but hey.
Not sure if insects, say flies, truly behave this way, though. Flies will bump into windows, until they finally find a way out to the light, but I always thought that's because they don't know about transparent glass?
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.