Robotic Albatrosses

Scientists make use of animal´s movement and behaviour to improve technology, birds inspired airplanes, for example. Now scientists try to copy the abilities of the wandering albatross to use them on drones. The bird is able to soar great distances with minimal effort. The albatross doesn´t flap its wings but just rides the wind. Scientists want to build drones that can make use of the power of the wind and sun as well.

Scientists believe that the abilities of the wandering albatross are also due to its colouration. The bird is black on top with a white belly. The black feathers absorb more solar energy and with rising temperature difference the air pressure around the bird is lowered. This allows the albatross to slice through the air more easily. Additionally, the bird makes gentle zigzag motions as they climb and descend. That helps them to fly 57% faster.

Scientists at the New Mexico State University want to build a drone that mimics the shape and colour of the wandering albatross. The drone could be used for missions to remote regions where there is no place to recharge them. They could also lead rescue efforts or patrol protected marine areas to make sure that there is no illegal fishing. Furthermore, the drones could collect atmospheric data that would allow meteorologists to better forecast the paths of hurricanes and storms.

behaviour (bɪˈheɪvjəʳ) – das Verhalten, Benehmen

to improve (ɪmˈpru:v) – etw verbessern, daran arbeiten

ability (əˈbɪləti) – die Fähigkeit

to soar (sɔ:ʳ) – aufsteigen, sich erheben, schweben

to flap (flæp) – flattern, mit den Flügeln schlagen

wing (wɪŋ) – der Flügel, Schwinge

due (dju:) – wegen, aufgrund von

colouration (kʌləˈrʃn) – die Färbung

air pressure (eəʳ ˈpreʃəʳ) – der Luftdruck

to lower (ˈləʊəʳ) – etw verringern, senken

to slice (sls) – etw durchschneiden

gentle (ˈʤent) – sanft, behutsam, leicht

to descend (dɪˈsend) – herabsinken

to mimic (ˈmɪmɪk) – etw nachahmen, etw ähneln

remote (rɪˈməʊt) – fern, entlegen, weit entfernt

to recharge (ˌri:ˈɑ:ʤ) – eine Batterie neu aufladen, nachladen

to lead (li:d) – etw führen, leiten

atmospheric data (ˌætməsˈferɪk ˈdtə) – atmosphärische Daten

to forecast (ˈfɔ:ʳkɑ:st) – etw vorhersagen, prognostizieren

path (pɑ:θ) – der Weg, Pfad

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