Watch a raven take out a Google drone mid-air as the tech giant is forced to ground its home delivery service due to bird attacks
Muhammed Enes Yildirim / Anadolu Agency / Robert Alexander / Getty Images
Home delivery drones in Australia had to be suspended after being repeatedly attacked by birds.
Delivery service operator Wing said it would wait for researchers to evaluate the birds' behavior.
One man who filmed one of the attacks said "it's only a matter of time" before a drone is shot down.
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A home drone delivery service in Canberra, Australia had to be temporarily closed after its devices were repeatedly attacked by ravens guarding their nests, the Canberra Times reported.
Wing, operated by Google's umbrella company Alphabet, has been supplying everything from coffee, medicine and office supplies to Canberra residents since 2019.
But on Tuesday it announced it would suspend its services due to several reported incidents of ravens falling on the flying machines. This comes at a time when demand for drone deliveries is increasing due to the ongoing coronavirus lockdown in Canberra.
The latest attack was recorded on video and posted online by Ben Roberts, a local who orders coffee from service every morning.
He told the Canberra Times, “It's a matter of time before they bring you down. They think it's Terminator or something. "
Magpies are also known to attack drones, as well as other birds such as hawks and wedge-tailed eagles.
You can watch the video here.
In a statement to customers in the area, Wing said, "We have identified some birds in the area that exhibit territorial behavior and fall on moving objects," according to ABC News Australia.
"While this is common during the breeding season, we strive to be strong environmentalists and would like ornithological experts to study this further to ensure we continue to have minimal impact on bird life at our service locations."
A company spokesman also said contact with birds was very rare among the many thousands of drone shipments.
"In the unlikely event that a bird is in direct contact with our drone, we've built multiple levels of redundancy into our operations to ensure we can continue to fly safely," said the Times spokesman.
"Service will be temporarily suspended for a small number of our Harrison customers during this time," said a Canberra Times spokeswoman.
Ornithologist Neil Hermes told ABC News Australia that while ravens are very territorial, they have never attacked drones before.
"They will overturn dogs and activities around their nests, but attacking drones is new," said Hermes.
Wayne Condon, the chief pilot and instructor for UAV Training Australia, told the network that drone operators should avoid known nesting sites.
"At the end of the day, it's their heaven and we are the visitor. Keep your fingers crossed, if you act fast enough you can save your plane and not injure the bird!" Condon told the Canberra Times.
Last month in Brisbane, Australia, a 5-month-old baby tragically died after its mother dropped it trying to avoid a whizzing magpie.
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