Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project

First Advisor

Bahram Nassersharif


According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there have been approximately two-hundred thousand civil aircraft collisions with wildlife during the last three decades in the United States alone. Ninety-seven percent of these collisions occurred during takeoff or landing. As of this writing, there is no definitive method used in order to prevent these “bird strikes”, which cause nearly one billion dollars in damages per year in the United States. The team aims to solve this problem. The goal is to integrate an autonomous drone into the daily workings of a local Rhode Island airport. The drone will patrol a designated route along the perimeter of airport grounds and deter birds from foraging or nesting in the area. The drone will be equipped with lights and sounds that are tuned specifically to disrupt bird behavior and communication, thus making the area undesirable. The specific lights and sounds integrated in the drones design are based upon information researched using web-based literary resources. The objective is to not only deter birds from airport grounds, but also to limit the distraction to pilots and airport staff. Implementing ultraviolet lights in the design helps to achieve this goal. Ultraviolet lights give off only trace amounts of light that can be seen by a human eye, but these wavelengths are fully within the bird’s visual spectrum. Therefore, it is possible to minimize the distraction to pilots and staff.

Using the drone provided to the team by Professor Nassersharif, the team performed various tests to determine the most effective method of deterring birds. Equipping the drone with UV lights as well as a speaker that emits predatory bird sounds has proven to be the most efficient method. A flight path was also incorporated into the software to make the drone autonomous.


Sponsor: Bahram Nassersharif