Bird Attack Forces Google To Suspend Drone Deliveries

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Angry birds! Google Wing delivery drones in the Australia capital of Canberra have been grounded after being attacked by ravens

Google’s Wing delivery drones in Australia are facing an unexpected challenge in a fight for aerial domination in a city down under.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has reported that ‘territorial’ ravens have been attacking the delivery drones of Google Wing in Australia’s capital city of Canberra.

Google it should be remembered in April 2019 launched the world’s first commercial drone delivery service in Australia.

A Wing drone prototype is shown carrying a payload. Credit: Alphabet

Angry birds

Wing had begun delivering takeaway food, coffee and medicines by drone to about 100 homes in Canberra, after that country’s aviation authority granted it regulatory approval for the move.

According to ABC, Wing paused flights in the northern suburb of Harrison while bird experts assess the behaviour of local ravens to ensure their welfare is safeguarded.

Demand for drone deliveries has surged during Canberra’s Coronavirus lockdown, meaning more frequent drone delivery flights, which has impacted the local nesting season in Australia.

“We’ve identified some birds in your area demonstrating territorial behaviours and swooping at moving objects,” Wing was reported as telling a customer in a written statement.

“While this is common during nesting season, we are committed to being strong stewards of the environment, and would like to have ornithological experts investigate this further to ensure we continue to have minimal impact on birdlife in our service locations,” said Wing.

Harrison resident Ben Roberts, who has been taking advantage of Wing deliveries during the lockdown, captured a stunning video of the raven attacking a Wing drone that was delivering his coffee order.

“It’s just good to be able to grab a quick brew without having to get in the car, drive to a cafe, mask up, interact with other people and unnecessarily expose yourself to Delta when I can just order it to my front yard,” Roberts was quoted as saying.

But he didn’t want the birds getting injured and thought it was a good idea that deliveries were suspended whilst an investigation is carried out.

Police birds

This is not the first time that birds have attacked drones.

In February 2016 for example Dutch police trained eagles to take down drones that pose a threat to public safety.

The Dutch police worked with a company called ‘Guard from Above’ to train the birds, which were able to attack the drones without hurting themselves due to their strong claws and talons.

eagle drones

The police even purchased four sea eagle chicks to train them.

However in late 2017 Dutch police revealed they had stopped using eagles, because training them was more expensive and complicated than they had anticipated.

And it seems the eagles wouldn’t always do what they were trained to do.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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