“This is truly a historical step for the Robird, our company and the complete aviation industry”, says Nico Nijenhuis, CEO at Clear Flight Solutions. “We currently operate our Robirds in a variety of places, but taking the step towards full integration within daily operations at an airport is huge. For years, there has been a lot of interest from airports. It is amazing that we are now able initiate our operations on a major airport in Canada.”
On Edmonton International Airport, Robird will be part of a large drone-project in which drones are used to observe wild animals, building inspections and 3D-computations. For the first three months, the effectiveness of the Robird at keeping birds away will be carefully monitored, and the project will be further optimized. There will also be intensive consultations with pilots and airline companies, who need to become familiar with the relevant procedures. Currently, Edmonton Airport uses sound effects and lasers to keep birds away. Clear Flight Solutions has recently been looking at how use of the Robird can be combined with these different techniques so that they can reinforce one another.
Clear Flight Solutions has been granted a special permit by Transport Canada, the Canadian government agency that is responsible for legislation, policies and services for airport aviation, in relation to the use of the Robird.
Clear Flight Solutions is collaborating in this project with Aerium - a Canadian company that focuses on services for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). “We went to Japan to explore the market and source technology and ended up going home with business cards from the Netherlands”, says Jordan Cicoria from Aerium. “The Robird is the missing link in our integrated service-model for drones. The partnership with CFS has given us the opportunity to have a positive and environmentally friendly impact on the industry on and around the airport. The partnership pairs world class industry experience with leading-edge technology. Together we can address societal issues.”
Measured in size, Edmonton International Airport is Canada’s largest airport. he airport handles around 8 million passengers and 168,000 flights annually, which makes it one of Canada’s top five airports. The contract was signed on May 9th, 2017, during the convention ‘AUVSI Xponential’ held in Dallas, Texas, United States.
The Robird is the flagship product of Clear Flight Solutions, a robotics and drone spin-off of the University of Twente. The company was recently the beneficiary of an investment worth €1,6 milion from Cottonwood Euro Technology Fund. This investment has enabled Clear Flight Solutions to become a global leader in the field of bird management.
The damage caused by birds at airports around the world is estimated to run into billions of euros, and goes beyond just material damage. Birds can sometimes lead to fatal accidents. Birds are also a problem for the agricultural sector, waste disposal companies, ports and the oil and gas sector, and in these sectors, too, the damage amounts to billions of euro every year. The problem is that birds are smart and get used to the existing bird control solutions; they learn to fly around them. The high-tech Robird mimics the flight of a falcon and is very lifelike. The Robird’s course of flight is so realistic that birds are convinced that it is a natural predator. This approach exploits the natural instinct of the birds and therefore, they will never get used to it.