Meet “Chirocopter”: A drone that flies within swarms of bats

Meet “Chirocopter”: A drone that flies within swarms of bats
    Wildlife biologists have designed a drone
    that can hover within swarms of bats
    as they zip across the nighttime sky.
    The drone is equipped with a microphone
    to record echolocation chirps
    and a thermal camera
    that can “see” bats’ body heat.
    The microphone is insulated with foam
    that allows it to pick up high-pitched chirps
    over the noise of the drone
    and prevents it from reflecting back the chirps.
    Similar technology has been used to record bats
    from the ground and from towers,
    but the chiro-copter has the advantage
    that it can be placed anywhere in 3D space.
    In testing, the team maneuvered the drone
    to hover in the middle of a bat swarm
    In one 84-min recording, they recorded
    at heights ranging from 5 m to 50 m.
    There were so many bats
    that they recorded 46 chirps/minute.
    By monitoring swarms from the air,
    the researchers hope that they’ll be able to figure out
    how the fast-flying mammals avoid colliding.
    (No bats collided with the drone during the testing.)
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