"I'm strictly an ivory-tower person. I can explain things but I can't do things."
In the story, the tracer-birds are used to spy upon the novel's main character. It is noteworthy that Zelazny hit upon a useable way for UAVs (Unmanned aerial vehicles) to do solar charging automatically.
The earliest reference that I know of for a robot that can charge itself is from the 1960 short story Callahan and the Wheelies by Stephen Barr. See the article for the self-charging robot.
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NASA's Highway In The Sky For Drones
Traffic is everywhere.
Palcohol Powdered Alcohol - Try Or Ban?
'I had a small can of powdered alcohol disguised as tooth powder...'
pd.id Personal Drink ID Device Like Dune 'Poison Snooper'
'The jeweled hands clutching drinks (and the unobtrusive inspections with tiny remote-cast snoopers)...'
Monsieur Bartending Robot
'He poured the liquids into his maw...'
Cities Detect Gunfire Acoustics With ShotSpotter
'Sound trackers on the roof...'
Cruise Automation's 'Highway Autopilot' For $10K
'It cut her out of the stream of vehicles and reduced the speed of her car...'
Pengheng Space Capsule Hotel Staffed Entirely By Robots
'A planet-wide chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'
Electric Bacteria That Live On Pure Energy
'April 5, 1977; that was the night the waveries came.'
EXACTO Smart Bullet From DARPA
Nicely visualized in what 1984 movie?
Neural Implant To Treat Memory Loss
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?'
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