The company is waiting for scientists to propose a solution to the problem.
The Wing delivery service (a subsidiary of Google) has temporarily stopped flights of cargo drones in the area of Canberra, the capital of Australia. The company had to take such a step due to the fact that drones are increasingly being attacked by local crows, magpies, hawks and wedge-tailed eagles, Business Insider reports.
Wing has been delivering goods in Australia since 2019, but it is only now that it is facing such a problem. The company’s specialists suggested that the root cause of bird aggression is territorial instinct. The Australian birds have started the nesting season, which coincided with a strong increase in the number of delivery orders due to the widespread self-isolation regime. Perhaps because of the regularly flying drones, local birds “lost their patience.”
According to a local ornithologist, when the drone flies away after the delivery of the order, the attacking bird may consider it its victory in the battle for territory. This will lead to the fact that birds will attack more often and more aggressively, and sooner or later they will either disable drones or get injured by screws. Therefore, Wing has stopped all drone flights in the Canberra area until scientists offer a solution to the problem.
Drone piloting experts have already put forward several proposals, but they all do not suit Wing well. For example, they advise sending drones early in the morning when the birds are mostly asleep, but this is not possible for the delivery service. Also, Wing drones cannot rise high enough in the air — there are restrictions in the area due to the proximity of the airport. However, the company can greatly reduce the noise from the drone’s motors so as not to attract the attention of birds and not annoy them.
Wing engineers have already had to deal with the last problem — even at the testing stage of the service, Australians complained about the noise of drones, comparing it to the roar of a chainsaw. The authorities of the country checked the complaints and found that Wing drones really exceed all noise standards. The company eliminated this shortcoming in a few months.
The mass of Wing drones is 4.8 kg (without payload), the length is 1.3 m, the wingspan is a meter. It has 12 lifting screws and two main ones – with their help, the drone can reach speeds of up to 113 km / h at an altitude of 45 m. With a load of one and a half kilograms, the device can fly up to 20 km. To transfer the cargo, the drone descends to a height of 7 m and lowers the winch with the box. For two years of work in Australia, the company has completed deliveries.