A life-like robotic falcon, Robird, has made its first test flight at Germany’s Weeze Airport, located across the Dutch border near Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Designed by Netherlands-based Clear Flight Solutions, the Robird has been developed to imitate the flight of a real falcon, scaring away birds that can cause fatal accidents at airports and waste processing plants.
Clear Flight Solutions CEO Nico Nijenhuis said: "Finally, this is a historic step for the Robird and our company.
"We already fly our Robirds and drones at many locations, and doing this at an airport for the first time is really significant. Schiphol Airport has been interested for many years now, but Dutch law makes it difficult to test there.
"The situation is easier in Germany, which is why we are going to Weeze."
Clear Flight Solutions will also train the Robird’s ‘pilot’ and ‘observer’, who watches other air traffic.
Nijenhuis added: "If you operate at an airport, there are a lot of protocols that you have to follow.
"You’re working in a high-risk area and there are all kinds of things that you need to check.
"We use the latest technologies, but the human aspect also remains crucial."
Weeze Airport, which handles nearly 2.5 million passengers every year, facilitated the trial with its more relaxed rules and air traffic.
Image: Clear Flight’s Robird will be used to scare away birds from areas near airports. Photo: courtesy of University of Twente.