A new study by the Universiy of Oxford suggests that peregrine attack takes after basic geometric principles. It could be connected to the outline of little, outwardly guided automatons that can bring down other ‘maverick’ automatons in settings, for example, airplane terminals or detainment facilities.
The study could give insights into the pursuit behaviors of other predatory species – in the air, in water, or on the ground.
Principal investigator Professor Graham Taylor said, “Falcons are classic aerial predators, synonymous with agility and speed. Our GPS tracks and onboard videos show how peregrine falcons intercept moving targets that don’t want to be caught.”
“Remarkably, it turns out that they do this in a similar way to most guided missiles. Our next step is to apply this research to design a new kind of visually guided drone, able to remove rogue drones safely from the vicinity of airports, prisons, and other no-fly zones.”
Scientists used miniature GPS receivers to track peregrines attacking dummy targets thrown by a falconer or towed by a drone. They then applied a mathematical simulation to these movements describing the dynamics of the guidance system used in intercepting the dummy prey.
The scientists gathered onboard video giving a falcon’s-eye perspective of the assaults and utilized this to go through their decisions. Surprisingly, they found that the terminal assault directions of peregrines take after a similar law – known as relative route (PN) – utilized by outwardly guided rockets, however with a tuning suitable to their lower flight speed.
This strategy does not require any data on an object’s speed or separation, rather depending essentially on data about the pivot of the aggressor’s observable pathway to the objective.
Co-author Dr. Caroline Brighton, from Oxford’s Department of Zoology, said, “We spent four field seasons flying falcons in the Welsh hills, working with an experienced falconer and a qualified drone pilot.”
“It was very exciting to study these sleek, formidable aerial predators, and to watch them as they chased down our maneuvering lure towed behind a small remote-controlled airplane – then, through our computer modeling, to reveal the secret of their attack strategy.”
Thus, scientists concluded that the PN guidance optimised for low flight speeds could find use in small, visually guided drones designed to remove other drones from protected airspace.