"I long ago realized that I could reach far more people by writing something, than by walking down the street with a banner."
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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Flatcat Robot Recalls Both Heinlein And Simak
Sorry, you'll need to read the article.
Nuclear Batteries May Pack Inner Punch
'... the most super-valuable substance in the solar system.'
Elon Musk STILL Wants To Make Heinlein's 1940's Speedster
'As she neared the barrier the car surged and lifted...'
Mercury Capsule Ablative Shielding
'...a synthetic which air-friction would erode away.'
Heinlein And Russian Quail In Orbit
'No earth-hatched bird can learn to fly in that fashion...'
Listen Up, Coppertop - Wearable Device Turns You Into A Battery
'It's our way or the highway.'
Solar Powered Robot Cleans Up Solar Panels For Free
'... with large padded feet, who were apparently polishing their way the whole length of Rama's six artificial suns.'
Spot Arm From Boston Dynamics Picks Up Like Heinlein's Hired Girl Robot
'Anything larger than a BB shot it picked up and placed in a tray on its upper surface...'
Electric Vehicle Prices Will Drop To $2,890
'the human seats took up two-thirds of the room in each'
TIGER Ultimate Mobility Vehicle From Hyundai
'He admired the fast-plodding, articulated legs...'
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