These days, it’s become fashionable to label everyday crusades as “wars.”
The War on Terrorism… the War on Crime… the War on Drugs.
But the War on Birds?
When it comes to aviation… yes.
Cast your mind back four years to the famous “Miracle on the Hudson,” when the stricken U.S. Airways Flight 1549 was forced to make a dramatic emergency landing on the Hudson River in New York.
The cause? Birds.
Specifically, a flock of Canada geese, which had flown into the plane’s engines immediately after takeoff, crippling the aircraft.
Aside from the risk to human life, such bird strikes cost a whopping $1 billion in damages to aircraft every year, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization.
But a team in South Korea is using technology to combat this threat.
Of course, the world’s airports already have measures in place to prevent bird strikes. But the equipment tends to be fixed in one place.
The difference here is that the team at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute have made their invention mobile.
They’ve created a high-tech robot, which uses a microphone and cameras to track birds that pose an immediate threat to aircraft. The robot then uses lasers and gunshot sounds to scare birds away from runways. But because it’s mobile, the team can order the robot to charge at birds while doing so!
As lead researcher, Kim Chang-Hwoi, states: “Other bird expellant equipment is fixed at a certain place, so birds get used to hearing the noise and learn that it does them no harm. However, our robot threatens birds and transmits sounds while rushing toward them. During the test, we discovered the robot is approximately 20% more effective than other systems.”
Kim’s team have filed an international patent for their technology and hope that it will be incorporated at airports across the world in 2014.