Scarecrows are a tried and true piece of human technology, but nowadays birds harass more than just crops; they also bother planes. That's why South Korea has developed a new kind of overkill scarecrow for airports: an unmanned tank with laser and acoustic weapons.
The Korean Atomic Energy Group and a subsidiary of LG have been working together on the project for years, and now actual bird-scaring unmanned ground vehicles are rolling out to select Korean airports and air bases alike. Eight feet long and 1.2 tons, each tank is outfitted with cameras to track birds in daylight and at night, acoustic sensors, directional acoustic transmission hardware, and green lasers all in the interest of harassing birds with 100 db popping noises and frenetic laser patterns.
While unmanned, the vehicles are monitored and piloted from remote control stations, though they can avoid obstacles and travel to and from pre-programmed locations on their own. The designers of the tank claim it's 20 percent more effective than other solutions when it comes to keeping birds from hitting planes or getting sucked into engines. It's certainly at least 20 percent cooler. It's likely this technology will go on to be used in unmanned landmine detection systems, combat, and supply vehicles, but it's first job as a robotic scarecrow will always be the most bizarrely awesome. Where can I take one for a test drive? [KBS News via Gizmag]