“Tommy, round ’em up boy!”
Now you don’t have to yell at your farm dog to protect and direct the cattle. Why would you when you have a Robot Cowboy to do just that!
Enter SwagBot, a herding robot developed at the University of Sydney by the Australian Centre for Field Robotics. It was made for the purpose of herding cattle and is capable of scuttling away on jagged terrain like a farm and can even pull trailers of heavy load across the land. The aim for SwagBot is to manage livestock across Australia’s different terrains. SwagBot’s design is rugged and it can move across ditches, logs, water ponds and a series of other hindrances it might encounter, making it highly efficient. The next step is to help SwagBot recognize animals that are sick or injured by the use of temperature and motion sensors on board. It will detect changes in body temperature and walking gait, as well as colour and shape sensors to make sure the animals have enough pasture to graze on. The robot is battery-operated and can reach speeds of 9 – 12mph, depending on the topography of the region
“Over the next few months, we will be looking at what algorithms we need to put together to allow the animal monitoring,” says the lead researcher.
Other studies have previously shown that farm robots can be instrumental in monitoring the health of crops, but SwagBot is the first of its kind as it will monitor the health of livestock. All in all, SwagBot sounds like a pretty awesome farm pet.