Dog sized drone on patrol at airport in Alaska

The drone is the newest idea to reduce bird strikes at the airport. Credit: Marc Lester

A new robot named Aurora is set to patrol Alaska’s Fairbanks airport to help prevent bird strikes.

Aurora, roughly the size of a Labrador, is designed to look like a coyote. It can climb rocks and dance with flashing green lights to scare away birds and other wildlife.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities hopes Aurora will enhance safety at the airport. During migratory bird season, Aurora will mimic the movements of predators to keep birds away from the planes.

Flying drones were rejected

Using a robot became the plan after officials rejected the idea of using flying drones to spray repellent. In the past, officials even released pigs near the Anchorage airport to eat waterfowl eggs.

During the test period in Fairbanks, officials will see how effective Aurora is with larger animals like moose and bears. Last year, there were 92 animal strikes near Alaska’s airports, causing potential danger and damage to planes.

By using Aurora, the airport hopes to avoid costly and dangerous encounters, like the one in 1995 when a plane crashed after hitting a flock of geese, resulting in 24 fatalities.

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Written by

Julian Phillips

Born in the UK, has lived in 9 countries, before finally coming to Spain in 2015. Currently living in Almeria and working out of the EWN office in Mojacar.