Bird strikes can cause costly damage at airports and are dangerous to aircraft, and the effect of a collision with an aircraft can even be fatal.
But a Canadian airport hopes to resolve this problem by using ‘Robird’ – a drone that mimics the flight of a falcon.
The lifelike falcon drone can be used to chase off birds, convincing them that it’s a real life predator.
The Robird will scare real birds away from Edmonton International Airport, Canada’s largest airport in terms of surface area, starting at the end of May.
Flocks in the vicinity will be scared off by the combination of silhouette and wing movement.
In essence, the manufacturers say, the birds believe that one of their natural enemies is eyeing them up, as the Robird has the appearance and weight of a real falcon.
Robird – which is propelled by flapping wings – will has already been tested at Dusseldorf Weeze airport in Germany to help protect aircraft as they take off and land.
‘This is a historic step for the Robird and our company,’ says Nico Nijenhuis, the CEO of Clear Flight Solutions, a spin-off company of the University of Twente in the Netherlands that produces the Robird.
‘We currently operate our Robirds in a variety of places, but taking the step towards full integration within daily operations at an airport is huge.
‘For years, there has been a lot of interest from airports.
‘To now officially start integrating our operations at a major Canadian airport is absolutely fantastic.’
The Robird will become part of a large-scale drone project at Edmonton Airport, which includes using drones to observe wildlife, inspect buildings and take 3-D measurements.
Currently, Edmonton Airport uses sound effects and lasers to keep birds away, nut the problem with existing bird control solutions is that birds get used to them, and quickly learn to fly around them.
So Clear Flight Solutions has been looking at how the Robird can be combined with these techniques to reinforce one another.
For the first three months, the Robird’s effectiveness at keeping birds away will be carefully monitored, and the project further optimized.
There will also be consultations with pilots and airline companies who need to become familiar with the procedures surrounding the robotic bird.
Birds are also a problem for the agricultural industry, waste disposal, ports and the oil as gas industry, and the Robird could help those sectors too.
‘The applications to an ecologically friendly and impactful technology such as the Robird are huge,’ said Jordan Cicoria from Aerium, a Canadian company that is collaborating with Clear Flight Solutions for the Robird project.
‘Airports, tailings ponds, wind farms, agriculture to name a few.
‘The results are real in terms of safety, environment, and economics.’
About Pigeon Patrol:
Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions. At Pigeon Patrol, we manufacture and offer a variety of bird deterrents, ranging from Ultra-flex Bird Spikes with UV protection, Bird Netting, 4-S Gel and the best Ultrasonic and audible sound devices on the market today.
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