Is it a bird or is it a plane?
Birds are very bad news for airports. Bird strikes can down planes and flocks of birds also cause huge damage to airports’ infrastructures. It is impossible to completely eliminate the risks presented by birds but all airports work hard to keep them away from the runways. After all, the planes aren’t terribly good news for the birds either!
Birds of any size can be impacted by a vortex created by an aircraft. This forces the birds down and slams them into the ground. Killed and injured birds are a relatively common sight at airports where staff have been known to rescue the survivors and to nurse them back to health.
Airport staff use a variety of means to deter birds from the runways. These include pyrotechnics, sound cannons and lasers. But, unfortunately, the birds do become accustomed to these sound and visual effects over time. Bright lights and loud noises simply become a normal aspect of the environment for the birds and no longer induce the fear factor. It is becoming progressively difficult to keep birds away using these tactics.
New technology to Address the Bird Problem
Scientists have long been researching more effective ways of deterring birds from airports across the globe. Now, one tech company has launched what looks to be an excellent solution to the problem. A cross between a robot and a drone, Robird mimics the look and the flight of a falcon. Created by Clear Flight Solutions in Canada, Robird has recently taken to the skies at Edmonton International Airport.
Robird was developed in conjunction with Aerium, a drone service company also based in Canada. This advanced falcon drone is able to observe wildlife, inspect buildings and take accurate 3D measurements as well as scaring away birds. Its effectiveness at clearing the birds from the airport is to be monitored over a three-month period.
Robirds are already active in a variety of environments but deploying drones at airports presents specific safety challenges. However, there has been a great deal of interest from airports and so the results of the trial are eagerly anticipated. If Robird proves to be practical and effective, this unique falcon drone could become a feature of airport safety across the globe. Whatever next?