Aircraft

Robotic raptors look and fly like the real thing

Robot raptors that fly like the real thing are designed to act as a deterrent to flocks of nuisance birds
Robot raptors that fly like the real thing are designed to act as a deterrent to flocks of nuisance birds
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The flying raptor creations are the brainchild of Nico Nijenhuis from Clear Flight Solutions
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The flying raptor creations are the brainchild of Nico Nijenhuis from Clear Flight Solutions
Robirds are claimed to virtually eliminate the chances of nuisance bird flock habituation
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Robirds are claimed to virtually eliminate the chances of nuisance bird flock habituation
The system is fully controllable by an operator on the ground with a remote control
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The system is fully controllable by an operator on the ground with a remote control
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These realistic looking birds actually flap their wings to fly
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These realistic looking birds actually flap their wings to fly
Clear Flight Solutions claim that the Robird offers an alternative for of nuisance bird control
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Clear Flight Solutions claim that the Robird offers an alternative for of nuisance bird control
Though currently remote controlled by a human, plans are afoot to make the Robirds autonomous
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Though currently remote controlled by a human, plans are afoot to make the Robirds autonomous
Robot raptors that fly like the real thing are designed to act as a deterrent to flocks of nuisance birds
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Robot raptors that fly like the real thing are designed to act as a deterrent to flocks of nuisance birds

Birds that stray into the paths of aircraft, eat crops, or spread disease from foraging in large numbers at landfills are, at best, a nuisance and, at worst, downright dangerous. Over the years people have tried everything from scaring them away with loud noises to trapping them – all with varying results. Now a designer from the Netherlands has come up with robotic birds of prey that look and fly exactly like the real thing.

Dubbed "Robirds," these flying raptor creations are the brainchild of Nico Nijenhuis from Clear Flight Solutions. The remotely controlled, realistic looking birds actually flap their wings to fly, and in a way that makes them remarkably similar to the real thing. According to the designers, this means that their artificial predator birds can fly in and around problem areas, encouraging nuisance birds to leave by exploiting the natural instinct of birds to avoid predators, particularly through silhouette and wing movement recognition.

In addition, the creators claim that – as the system is fully controllable by an operator on the ground with a remote control – especially difficult birds can be persuaded to leave by singling them out with the Robird to chase them away.

The practical upshot of all this is that – according to the designers – targeted bird populations learn to avoid what they perceive as the active stalking grounds of a bird of prey and that bird numbers in the areas of Robird operation drop by 50 percent or more. As a result of continued operations, the creators also claim that Robirds virtually eliminate the chances of nuisance bird flock habituation in the long term.

With a body length up to 58 cm (23 in) and a wingspan of 120 cm (47 in), the peregrine falcon model is capable of reaching 80 km/h (50 mph) and is designed to act as a deterrent to birds of up to 3 kg (6.6 lb). However, the eagle model is even more intimidating. With a body length nearly twice the length of the falcon and wingspan of up to 220 cm (86 in), this robot bird is designed to scare off any type of bird and would probably scare the odd human or two as well.

Though currently still wirelessly controlled by a human on the ground – and not quite as smart as a Festo seagull – plans are afoot to make the Robirds autonomous, with the company pursuing this goal with business and technical partners and trials currently underway that are set to continue into 2015.

The short video below demonstrates a Robird in flight, demonstrating its striking similarity to the real thing.

Source: Clear Flight Solutions

16 comments
Deres
Very smart. An innovation that as such direct advantages will surely succeed. Airport already use real raptor so less costly robotic raptors will surely encounter success.
Odin Thorleifsson
I imagine that the military would be interested in adopting a surveillance drone with such awesome disguise capabilities.
James Smith
Very impressive. Almost as effective as putting a pair of real falcons in the area. A mated pair of the Peregrines would do the trick at less cost and even better, provide their own replacements.
Ash Mills
This will make drones that much harder to spot...(once they can be programmed to hover..)
Larry McInnes
I can't believe the military hasn't already built this. Just attach a bomb.
the.other.will
Different forms for different functions. The bird shape & behavior frightens other birds. Military drones are difficult to spot in practice because of the combination of size & altitude. Shape doesn't matter very much if something is far enough away.
Bob Flint
So how long does it fly, before the nuisance birds come back, and they will in any weather. Are you planning on permanently having an operator stationed nearby to charge, maintain, & repair? Get the real thing, self sufficient.
kalqlate
PERFECT application for IBM's True North / SyNAPSE chip. Drones of all types will reach new autonomous capabilities with neuromorphic designs like SyNAPSE. In fact, True north, with one million synthetic neurons and 256 million synthetic synapses, is estimated to have the capacity for bee-like intelligence. Bees, with their tiny brains, can do some amazing things like fly (duh), locate, optimize, and share knowledge about flight paths to food. Collectively, they can build hives, ward off enemies, kill enemies, even kill people (gulp). Imagine what a robotic falcon or other drone could do with a bee brain. Capacity of a bee brain, of course, is only the beginning. In a few short years, the chip will be shrunk and improved to have the capacity of a cat brain, except enhanced with fluent speech and all kinds of interfacing with our smart phones to infuse our computing tasks with intelligence. Next stop, Watson in your pocket, initially operating in the cloud, then operating offline and independently in gadgets and robotic appliances EVERYWHERE!
Leithauser
Maybe these can solve the problem of birds flying into windmills and getting smashed and concentrated solar collectors and getting fried.
Ramesh Chouhan
This bird or "Robird" is not new. Called the Ornithopter, flapping wing vehicles have been around for over ten years now. The best and the first successful design was by Sean Kinkade, USA. Unfortunately Sean died in an accident last year. One of Sean's plans was to have them used in deterring real birds from the vicinities of Airfields. Sean and I worked on design that included a 450 gram payload and drop capability. Any way, all the best to the entrepreneur.