Robotic 'Falco' hunts down airport birds

European company invents flying replica of goshawk.

Bird Raptor

Birds are a perennial nuisance at many airports, but removing them can be a labor-intensive and potentially dangerous affair when winged raptors are trained to chase them away. So a European company called Bird Raptor has taken live hunters out of the equation altogether by creating an unmanned air vehicle that serves as a "gregarious bird removal system," according to FlightGlobal, or "GBRS."

The "Falco"--not to be confused with the '80s Euro-pop star--is the product of 11 years of development, a life-size mechanical replica of a female goshawk with a 5.25-foot wingspan. The 2.2-pound UAV requires power for only about a minute after takeoff, then "flies like a goshawk, exploiting thermal updrafts."

Apparently, it actually works: In a test at the Genoa airport, a remote-controlled Falco reportedly dispersed 1,000 seagulls. We're hoping they'll make a version for pigeons on city streets.

(Thanks for the tip, Shalin)

About the author

    Mike Yamamoto is an executive editor for CNET News.com.

     

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