Koreans Terrorize Airport-Dwelling Birds With Laser Robot Scarecrows

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Nov. 19 2012 4:58 PM

Koreans Terrorize Airport-Dwelling Birds With Laser Robot Scarecrows

Keeping birds away from flight paths near airports has become a persistent headache for aviation officials, particularly after a flock of geese caused engine failures that led a pilot to ditch a U.S Airways jet in the Hudson River in 2009. Now engineers in South Korea have come up with an exotic new tool: a laser-equipped scarecrow robot designed to send nearby birds packing.

The unmanned, six-wheeled robot has a remote human operator, but it can perform many functions on its own. The bot features high-performance cameras to spot birds and emits loud noises modeled on predators and lasers to frighten them off.

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The robot’s producer says it’s more effective than other high-tech scarecrows, and it could help avoid less humane solutions to bird problems. Earlier this year, New York officials came under fire from animal advocacy groups after they captured and gassed 700 Canada geese residing near JFK Airport.

Jeffrey Bloomer is a Slate assistant editor focused on video. Follow him on Twitter.

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