Sky’s the limit for bird-banishing laser

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Bands of birds can destroy up to 25% of the areas harvested, both by eating the crop and by trampling young seedlings. The BIRD RELEASE (RepelLEnt Auto-SystEm) project focused on promoting the commercialization of the AVIX autonomous bird deterrence system. It can reduce bird nuisance by more than 70%, and offer customers increased safety, profitability and sustainability.

The device at the heart of the AVIX system contains a camera that constantly scans a protected area. When birds appear, the software automatically detects if they pose a threat to the site, and if so, flashes a laser that frightens the bird and causes it to flee. The device drastically reduces bird mortality by removing the need for nets and pesticides.

Since the advent of the EU-funded project, Bird Control BV, based in the Netherlands, has continued to develop its technology and expand its customer base. They now number more than 8,000 users in more than 100 countries, mostly focusing on agricultural users in North America and Australia.

But it has grown beyond just agricultural land protection, and the company has also installed devices on offshore oil and gas platforms. “These locations are always a challenge,” Hankes says. “Our technicians need special training to access the site, and you need to bring everything you think you need. As our technicians put it, ‘At sea, there is no hardware store around the corner,'” he adds. In improved weather sealing to better withstand the harsh marine conditions.

The company also conducted a test case at Chicago’s executive airport in the United States. Airport Wildlife Control Team members (employed by partner Wild Goose Chase) used a handheld version of the AVIX to more accurately manage birds near runways. “You can imagine scaring birds sitting while planes land. It’s not always a good idea,” Hankes says. “You can scare the birds into the plane path. That’s why the human element is important to make a judgment about when to scare birds and when not to scare them.”

Now, Bird Control BV are promoting the connectivity and manufacturing efficiency of their system by removing the need for a physical SIM card and instead using a global eSIM solution. Henskes adds: “EU funding was essential for the development of our second-generation laser system, and propelled our company from start-up to scale-up.”

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