Imperial College London develops drone tech to deter bird flocks away from designated airspace


New technology has been developed to deter a flock of birds away from designated airspace without breaking their formation using flying drones.

In a move that will help improve safety for the aviation industry, researchers from Imperial College London have teamed up with California Institute of Technology in the US to create a ‘herding’ algorithm to be used by drones to steer birds away from high-risk collision areas such as airports.

Scientists have investigated the new algorithm on the basis of macroscopic properties of the flocking model and the response of the flock.

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The team from the two institutes tested the robotic autonomous drone by successfully shepherding an entire flock of birds out of a designated airspace in South Korea.

Speaking to The Indian Express, David Hyunchul Shim, a professor at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), says: “It is quite interesting, and even awe-inspiring, to monitor how birds react to threats and collectively behave against threatening objects through the flock.”

“We made careful observations of flock dynamics and interactions between flocks and the pursuer. This allowed us to create a new herding algorithm for ideal flight paths for incoming drones to move the flock away from a protected airspace.

Bird and other wildlife collisions with aircraft cause well over $1.2bn in damages to the aviation industry worldwide annually.

“This algorithm will help improve safety for the aviation industry. In addition, this will also help control avian influenza that plagues farms nationwide every year,” said Shim.


Tags : dronesImperial College London
Zoe Monk

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