Parrot drives robotic bird buggy

University of Florida grad student Andrew Gray built the Bird Buggy for his parrot to drive around the house. "When it's time to put the bird away, Bird Buggy is able to dock itself to a base station utilizing a web camera," Gray says. (Thanks, Sean Ness!)

Discuss

27 Responses to “Parrot drives robotic bird buggy”

  1. Sylvia says:

    That’s probably the cutest thing I’ve seen all week.

  2. edgore says:

    For just a moment I thought we had created a robotic bird that could be driven insane.

  3. robcat2075 says:

     So this is how “flightless bird” species begin to evolve.

    Very impressive demonstration.  I wonder if the bird will become less tentative with his driving as he gains experience.  Or perhaps he just needs a more stable way to sit on it than a dowel.  The high vantage point is amplifying any slight tilt or bump the car goes over, perhaps that bothers him too.

  4. Adam Rice says:

    The cart is nice work, but the most interesting thing about this is that a bird capable of flight sees this cart as an interesting enough toy to choose to maneuver it.

    • MonkeyBoy says:

       There is no evidence that the bird is driving the cart as opposed to just causing it to randomly move.

      If the owner had like put some treats or toys on a chair and the bird made a beeline to it then I would accept that it was using the cart and not just playing with it.

      • robcat2075 says:

         That he turned the cart to align it with the pavement so he could go farther forward would be one data point of “evidence”.

        But is “play” not a stepping stone to “use”?  It is for children.

        • MonkeyBoy says:

          That “turning the cart aligning” could have easily been random or dependent on what I perceived as a preference for left-turns.

          Who knows how many minutes of video there are where the bird gets stuck and has to be repositioned.

          • robcat2075 says:

             Your claim was that there was “no evidence”.  The video presents some evidence.  Seeing the whole unedited video would give us more evidence either way, but we have a little evidence about how the bird behaves now.

          • edgore says:

            “a preference for left-turns.”

            So, what you are saying is that he is fully qualified to be a NASCAR driver.

    • CLamb says:

       I’m guessing the bird’s flight feathers have been clipped rendering it unable to fly.  This is commonly done with large pet birds.

  5. Kevin Pierce says:

    Pepper also requests the addition of stereo system to Bird Buggy, for booming dubstep, and several to-scale gold necklaces with chunky symbols attached, cause that’s how we roll!

  6. This really makes me curious to know how much the parrot understands about its ability to control the path of the buggy.  Is it just wiggling the stick around and enjoying the ride, or can it, with intent, steer the buggy to a desired location?  I imagine that one way to get some idea of intentionality could be to include a tracking mechanism on the buggy, so that the human operator could compare the trips the bird takes and see if there are any patterns.  Apparent patterns could of course be incidental to stick-wiggling, though, so there’s definitely room for improvement in this methodology.  I wonder if there is some goal that the parrot could be enticed to reach with the buggy, but discouraged from simply flying to it?

  7. Can I just say, nice house for a grad student?

  8. GawainLavers says:

    Hey, they share the same last name…

  9. drinkingcoffee says:

    The next step, obviously, is to mount the perch on a quad-copter

  10. LBalsam says:

    Kickstarter please – I have 2 birds and I would buy this.

    The bird is definitely smart enough to drive and I think mine would be too. I love the newspaper tray for “droppings”.

  11. Scott Rose says:

    Smart enough to drive, yet needs newspaper under him to stop from sh*tting on his own car. Yup, that’s a parrot.

    • CLamb says:

       Part of the problem is that birds lack an anal sphincter such as humans have.  They can only control their deposit of droppings through control of intestinal contractions — a much harder set of muscles to consciously control.

  12. ARMed_Pirate says:

    “Check out Chickey, drivin’ Piggy’s little blue car.
    Nobody taught him how.”
    –The Presidents of the United States of America, “Feather Pluckin’”

  13. Tim Ortiz says:

    cars for birds?!

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