Robot Dog Hired to Deter Wildlife at Alaskan Airport

The robot, Aurora, can be disguised as a predator such as a fox or coyote to scare wildlife away from runways

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

April 4, 2024

1 Min Read
An updated version of Boston Dynamics' robot dog Spot is being used
An updated version of Boston Dynamics' robot dog Spot is being usedGetty

The Alaskan Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) has recruited a robot dog from Boston Dynamics to help deter wildlife from the country’s second-largest airport, Fairbanks.

In a post to Instagram, DOT&PF showcased its “new hire”, Aurora. In the clip, the robot is shown climbing up stairs, navigating over rocks and doing a dance-like movement.

In the caption, the department said Aurora will be used to “enhance and augment airport safety and operations” at Fairbanks and remote airports.

The department also mentioned that Aurora does not use AI, but instead uses “cutting-edge technology” to help it navigate different terrain. 

Aurora has removable panels that can be swapped out for camouflaged materials, allowing it to be disguised as a predator such as a fox or coyote, and used to deter wildlife from runways. 

“The sole purpose of this is to act as a predator and allow for us to invoke that response in wildlife without having to use other means,” Ryan Marlow, DOT’s program manager told state legislators.

In his address to the Alaska House and Senate transportation committees, Marlow also said DOT would be trialing the robot this fall, at the start of the migratory bird season. Aurora will run hourly patrols on the runway and will be tested for its efficacy in deterring birds.

Related:Boston Dynamics' Robot Dog Detects Gas Leaks

Aurora is currently undergoing tests for this deployment. 

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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