An Oxford study on peregrine falcons shows that they attack prey as missiles


  Peregrine falcon Ryan
Pierse / Getty Images

  • Peregrine falcons target the prey in the same way as
    missiles reach targets in motion, according to a new Oxford study
    University researchers.
  • Birds use quick adjustments to maintain the same
    angle when approaching a target.
  • The same technique could be used by drones to hunt
    other drones.

Earth's fastest predators drop bombs at their prey at speeds
exceeding 200 mph, descending from the sky and snatching other
birds in full flight with their claws.

Scientists have debated how peregrine falcons manage to calculate
its angles of attack. Now they can have an answer.

According to a study
recently published in the magazine
Minutes of the National
Academy of Sciences, birds of prey operate essentially as
guided missiles

To resolve this, researchers at the University of Oxford behind the
study GPS units and cameras attached to eight peregrine falcons,
and several mannequins designed to imitate prey animals.

"Hawks are clbadic aerial predators, synonymous with agility
and speed ", zoologist Graham Taylor, principal investigator
behind the study,
he said in a press release
. "Our GPS tracks and on-board videos
shows how peregrine falcons intercept moving targets that do not
I want to be caught. "

The study authors used data from 23 attacks on stationary targets
and 22 attacks on moving targets to badess how the hawks targeted
your dives

Instead of calculating the direction, a meal might be flying and
establishing an intercept course, Peregrines selects a target and dives
towards him in a way that maintains a constant line of sight
angle, making adjustments in route as necessary. This is a
efficient way for a quick and agile creature to point to another
one, since it does not require any information about where the objective is
is going or how fast it is moving, the researchers wrote. the
the strategy is based on maintaining the same angle while closing
distance, and make small adjustments as needed along the way.

This type of navigation, known as "proportional navigation", is
the same kind of guidance that guided missiles use to track
mobile targets

It's pretty effective, as you can see in the Oxford video
researchers below.

Since this technique is based solely on having a visual angle in a
objective (and being quick and agile), the researchers wrote that
the same navigation strategy could work for the anti-buzz attack
drones could use the technique to hit anything that
I did not have a reason to be in restricted airspace from the sky.

"Our next step is to apply this research to the design of a new type
of a visually guided drone, capable of eliminating rogue drones safely
the proximity of airports, prisons and other no-fly zones, "he said.

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