Bold Eagles: Angry Birds Are Ripping $80,000 Drones Out of the Sky
schwit1 found this story in the Wall Street Journal:
Daniel Parfitt thought he’d found the perfect drone for a two-day mapping job in a remote patch of the Australian Outback. The roughly $80,000 machine had a wingspan of 7 feet and resembled a stealth bomber. There was just one problem. His machine raised the hackles of one prominent local resident: a wedge-tailed eagle. Swooping down from above, the eagle used its talons to punch a hole in the carbon fiber and Kevlar fuselage of Mr. Parfitt’s drone, which lost control and plummeted to the ground… “It ended up being a pile of splinters”…
These highly territorial raptors, which eat kangaroos, have no interest in yielding their apex-predator status to the increasing number of drones flying around the bush. They’ve even been known to harass the occasional human in a hang glider… Camouflage techniques, like putting fake eyes on the drones, don’t appear to be fully effective, and some pilots have even considered arming drones with pepper spray or noise devices to ward off eagles.
One mining survey superintendent said he’s now lost 12 different drones to eagle attacks, costing his employer $210,000. Another drone was actually attacked by nine different eagles, and its pilot estimates eagles are now attacking 20% of all drone flights in rural Australia.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.