Army's 'Robo Raven' so realistic it is attacked by hawks, eagles


Washington Times:
A robotic bird created for the U.S. Army for use as a miniature spy drone is so convincing that it has been attacked by hawks and eagles, according to researchers.

The Robo-Raven, as the solar-powered, remotely piloted surveillance aircraft is called, was designed and built at the University of Maryland’s Maryland Robotics Center — an interdisciplinary research establishment in the university’s A. James Clark School of Engineering. The center posted a video of a test flight this week.

The Robo-Raven “already attracts attention from birds in the area which tends to hide its presence,” said John Gerdes, a mechanical engineer with the Vehicle Technology Directorate at the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

Seagulls, songbirds and sometimes crows tend to try to fly in formation with the robotic bird during testing, but birds of prey, such as falcons and hawks, take a much more aggressive approach, he said.

...
It is an interesting drone.  The wings can flap independently of each other which allows the drone to perform unusual aerobatics.   While birds are fooled by its appearance, the drone is going to need more refinement to fool most humans.

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