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Meet Chirocopter a drone that flies within swarms of bats

first_img Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Wildlife biologists have put drones to work counting whales, checking bird nests, and nabbing poachers. Now, they’ve designed a drone that can hover within fast-flowing swarms of bats as they zip across a darkened nighttime sky.The drone—or “Chirocopter” (named after Chiroptera, the scientific name for bats)—is equipped with a microphone to record echolocation chirps (sounds that bats use to navigate) and a thermal camera that can “see” bats by detecting their body heat. Similar technology has been used to record bats from the ground and from towers, but the Chirocopter has an advantage because it can be placed anywhere in 3D space, the team reports this month in Methods in Ecology and Evolution.Case in point: The team deployed a Chirocopter outside a cave in New Mexico that is home to about 800,000 Brazilian free-tailed bats. Just before dawn, the bats form dense aggregations and return to the cave along a chaotic aerial “freeway” at speeds exceeding 100 kilometers an hour. The team maneuvered the Chirocopter to hover in the middle of the fast-flowing swarm for 84 minutes at heights ranging from 5 meters to 50 meters—and there were so many bats that the scientists recorded 46 echolocation chirps per minute. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Meet ‘Chirocopter’: a drone that flies within swarms of batscenter_img By Katie LanginMar. 9, 2018 , 2:00 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The researchers hope that after returning to the cave to get more footage and recordings, they’ll be able to figure out how the fast-flying mammals avoid colliding with one another. Chirocopters could also be put to work in other places to study how bats move around wind turbines and other humanmade structures. (No bats were harmed in the testing of this technology—they all swerved to avoid collision with the Chirocopter.)last_img

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