Researchers Taught a Drone to Herd Birds Away From Airports

Posted by Montu 8:35 AM (CDT)

Thursday August 09, 2018

Birds strike aircraft thousands of times per year and sometimes the results can be devastating. The US Airways flight that made an emergency landing in the Hudson river back in 2009 comes to mind. Current methods to combat bird strikes are airport sound cannons and even falcons to keep the birds away. However, this isn't as effective as it needs to be and researchers have come up with a unique idea utilizing drones to herd the birds away. Engineers at Caltech modified sheep herding algorithms for software that is used to autonomously control a drone. Early results are promising and if you go to the source article you'll find a gif that shows the drone in action. Maybe this technology will save lives and equipment damage in the future. If so inclined, you can read the paper here.

The team found the system to be effective in tests for flocks of dozens of birds with only one drone (see gif). The technology could help prevent accidents like Sullenberger’s "Miracle on the Hudson" landing.