Google stops drone delivery trials… because of crow attacks

In Australia, delivery drones were forced to stay down to avoid being attacked by birds.

Attacks on drones by birds are quite common, especially when they are raptors. But in Canberra, Australia, it was crows that took out the flying devices of the delivery service of Wing, a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. The video below shows a drone being attacked by a crow and losing its cargo.

This attack is explained by a more territorial behavior during the nesting period. Wing said it is currently working with bird experts to respect the environment and have minimal impact on bird life in areas where drone deliveries are made. Wing insists, however, that out of thousands of deliveries, instances of contact with birds are rare. Moreover, the drones are equipped with protections that ensure that the animal is not harmed in case of contact.

According to ornithologist Neil Hermes, quoted by ABC News Australia, crows are used to scaring away dogs that get too close to their nests, but attacking drones is a new behavior. In the meantime, the service is paused for a small number of customers in the Harrison area, where the attacks mainly take place.

Wing has been testing drone delivery to Canberra city residents since 2019, whether it’s coffee, medicine or office supplies. Because of the ongoing containment in the country due to the coronavirus crisis, requests have increased significantly in recent times.