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New laser technology could reduce bird strikes at airports

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Occurrences of bird strikes are usually not a cause for concern, but they can be a problem when birds come into contact with critical or fragile parts of an aircraft. Airports around the world have dedicated airside departments to find ways to deal with bird strikes consistently. In China, scientists may have unleashed another potential solution to keeping birds at bay – artificial intelligence (AI) drive systems and lasers.

technology drives away birds

Professor Zhao Fan, along with a team from Xi’an University of Technology, led the research, which was published in April in the peer-reviewed journal Laser & Optoelectronics Progress. Scientists have built robotic systems driven by AI. This system consists of his four parts. Video processing module for target tracking. a laser emitter; a movable mirror that reflects and aims the beam; Once the AI ​​system detects a bird, it determines target lock and uses a camera and video processing module to track the bird in flight in real time.

Today’s simple flying video

The cameras are also equipped with image recognition and tracking algorithms to help identify birds and separate them from surrounding objects in video images such as buildings and aircraft. Other algorithms improve the stability of this computation and reduce the chance of missing targets. This is especially important for fast-flying birds. It also reduced the AI ​​computational load on the system.

Most bird-plane collisions occur during takeoff and landing, with 90% occurring over airports and 50% occurring within 30 meters of the ground.Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

These algorithms direct a painful, but not lethal, high-energy laser beam until the bird leaves a confined airspace. Field experiments have shown that the bird repellent system can be used accurately against flying birds within a range of at least 1,000 meters. Compared to other algorithms already on the market, Zhao said:

“The new algorithm improved the average success rate and accuracy of visual image target tracking by more than 47% and 51%, respectively. Its performance outperforms other algorithms of the same type.”


potential risk

AI-powered laser systems have shown promising results in keeping birds away from airfields, but some civil aviation experts have expressed safety concerns about the technology. Even if the laser beams used on birds were non-lethal and only painful, they could still endanger the pilot’s vision.

Lasers have been proven to incapacitate pilots through temporary blindness, disorientation, and even long-term eye damage. There is a possibility that the aircraft will be irradiated without

Another potential risk is that the laser type and beam intensity can affect the overall usability of the robotic system. Certain airports, such as Dalian Jinzhouwan Airport in Liaoning Province and Wuhu Xuanzhou Airport in Anhui Province, are near habitats for protected and endangered species such as red-crowned cranes, whooping cranes and bustards. If the laser beam is strong enough to harm these protected species, Zhao’s system will violate local laws.

Laser attacks on aircraft are on the rise, with reported cases up more than 40% since last year.Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Zhou Haixiang, a bird conservationist in Liaoning province, stressed that aside from potentially violating local laws, the system may still be relatively useless as birds learn to adapt to lasers. did. He said:

“Even if harmless, a full survey of bird species in the vicinity of the airport should be conducted prior to deployment. may not respond at all to

laser line

Given how common bird strikes are, with around 20,000 such occurrences reported each year, airports around the world are trying to use nets, sound, and lighting systems to keep birds away. is. At some airports, you can also scare away flying creatures by using non-lethal shooting methods.

Ultimately, we encountered the same result of birds adapting to them after realizing how harmless they can be. may have a positive effect, but only for a short time, given that it is only painful and not lethal. He also risks harming pilots, as reports of laser incidence have surged by 41% since last year.

Source: Wion News