Aerospace

Video: Watch a raven attack a Google Wing drone

29 September 2021

Drone delivery is still in its nascent stages with challenges such as limited range, flying beyond the visual line of sight and limited areas where deliveries can be made. But a new challenge may be emerging for Google’s Wing as ravens have started to attack its drones during deliveries that are part of a pilot project in Logan, Australia.

In a report from the Canberra Times, ravens have been increasing their attacks on drones to a point where Wing is suspending flights in the Canberra area.

Apparently, when the ravens first attacked the drones, the drones got clipped in the rotors, but in a few days the ravens learned how to avoid the blades and inflict more damage.

It s unclear why the ravens are attacking the drones, but some believe they view the machines as a threat to their territory.

"We have identified some ravens demonstrating territorial behaviour in a small part of our delivery area in the suburb of Harrison, and we've asked local ornithological experts to investigate this further to ensure we continue to have minimal impact on birdlife," a spokeswoman told Canberra Times. "Service will be temporarily paused for a small number of our customers in Harrison during this time."

The video shows a raven attacking a Wing drone as it makes a delivery of coffee to a local resident. The bird avoids the rotors and goes for the tail end of the drone instead. While it does not cause it to crash, future attacks could inflict more damage.

Wing recently announced it has flown more than 100,000 drone deliveries with the bulk being made in the area of Logan, Australia. Of these deliveries, drones have made 10,000 coffee runs, and delivered 1,200 roasted chickens and 1,700 snack packs.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com


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