June 1, 2022  |  WSU Insider

Automated drones could scare birds off agricultural fields

A Washington State University research team has developed a system for scaring birds, which they detail in a study published in the journal Computer and Electronics in Agriculture. The system is designed to have automated drones available 24 hours a day to scare pest birds, like European starlings or crows, that cost growers millions of dollars a year in lost fruit.

“Growers don’t really have a good tool they can rely on for deterring pest birds at an affordable price,” said Manoj Karkee, associate professor in WSU’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering and the study’s corresponding author. “With further refinement and industry partnerships, this system could work.”

For now, the birds are scared off just by the motion and whirring noises made by drones. But Karkee said that sounds, like distress calls or predatory bird noises, could be added. Builders could even design special drones for the job.

continue reading the article, WSU Insider, 2022.