Autonomous drones may be the ultimate scarecrows … for pigeons
Much as we may like pigeons, they can make quite a mess of buildings and other structures, potentially posing a health hazard. According to new research, autonomous drones may be ideal for harmlessly chasing the birds away.
In the recent study, a team at Switzerland’s EPFL research institute started by installing a weatherproof pan-tilt-zoom video camera on the roof of the EPFL SwissTech Convention Center. The building was already known for attracting large numbers of pigeons, which cover the roof with droppings that frequently have to be washed off.
Over a period of 21 days, the camera was used to observe the amount of time that pigeons typically stayed on the roof. Utilizing a neural network that was running on a linked ground station computer, the camera was also able to detect where and how many pigeons were present – it could even estimate their GPS coordinates.
After the three-week period, a Parrot Anafi quadcopter was added to the mix. Over the course of five days, whenever…