A droplet may ‘walk’ across the surface of a vertically vibrating bath of the same fluid, due to the propulsive interaction with its wave field. This hydrodynamic pilot-wave system exhibits many dynamics previously believed to exist only in the quantum realm. Starting from first principles, we derive a discrete-time fluid model, whereby the bath–droplet interactions are modelled as instantaneous. By analysing the stability of the fixed points of the system, we explain the dynamics of a walking droplet and capture the quantisations for multiple-droplet interactions. Circular orbits in a harmonic potential are studied, and a double quantisation of chaotic trajectories is obtained through systematic statistical analysis.
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