Google’s drone delivery service in Canberra, Australia, has been temporarily shut down after several of its aircraft were attacked by ravens. It’s early spring Down Under and the nesting birds are attacking the drones, which have been carrying everything from coffee to prescription drugs to customers in the nation’s capital since 2019. Google announced the pause in service last week after “several” raven attacks. In fact, the birds appear to be refining tactics in their attempts to protect their nests.
Ben Roberts is one of thousands of customers who’s grown accustomed to getting his morning coffee delivered by drone. One morning he shot video of the approaching drone and captured the bizarre aerial battle. The raven swooped in from behind and grabbed one of the pylons housing the rotors with its beak. After a brief tug of war, the bird broke off its attack and the drone righted itself and dropped Roberts’ coffee. “It’s a matter of time before they bring one down,” Roberts told the Canberra Times. “They think it’s Terminator or something.”
Google’s drone contractor Wing said in a statement it’s consulting with bird experts on what to do about the attacks. “We are committed to being strong stewards of the environment, and would like to have ornithological experts investigate this further to ensure we continue to have minimal impact on birdlife in our service locations,” the statement said. “In the unlikely event that a bird makes direct contact with our drone, we have multiple levels of redundancy built into our operations to ensure we can continue to fly safely.”