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Robets to be used at Alaskan airports

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At Fairbanks International Airport in Alaska, officials are introducing a unique approach to keep birds and other animals away from airplane runways.

They’re using a robot that looks a bit like a dog, named “Aurora,” created by a company called Boston Dynamics. This new “employee” was announced on Instagram by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Aurora isn’t just any robot; it’s designed to act like a predator, scaring away animals to make the airport safer for planes to take off and land.

The idea for Aurora came about because using other methods, like flying drones that spray things like grape juice to keep animals away, was considered too dangerous. Instead, Aurora will start working this fall, especially during the time when lots of birds fly through the area, walking around the runway every hour to check for wildlife.

Aurora is quite smart and can even change its appearance to look more like a fox or coyote if that helps scare away bigger animals like bears and moose. Ryan Marlow, the person in charge of Aurora, explained that this robot is a great option because it doesn’t need the things a real dog would, like food and training, and it can gather useful information while on patrol.

This robot was bought with the help of money from a federal grant and costs about $70,000. It’s a new way to try and reduce the risk of animals getting too close to airplanes, which can be very dangerous. Last year, there were 92 reports of animals being too close to airplanes in Alaska alone.

Some people are a bit worried about the robot being used for other things, like watching what people are doing, because similar robots have been used by the police in other places. But for now, Aurora’s main job is to make the airport a safer place for everyone.

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