Engineers from the University of Sydney in Australia have developed a robot in recent years, capable of herding and monitoring cattle by itself!
The design was first developed with the aim of helping farmers working on mammoth cattle stations in the outback and has been in development since before 2016. The project is called the ‘Swagbot’ and not only can it monitor a herd and move them to different paddocks, but it can also navigate even the roughest of terrains.
A two-year trial on the robot began back in 2016 and should conclude later this year, with the Centre for Field Robotics in Sydney University hoping their design will revolutionize farming on a larger scale in the country.
Swagbot - Information
Can navigate rough terrains without toppling.
Can herd animals.
Can monitor herd/flock health.
Ability to monitor the condition of pastures.
Can tow trailers.
The design is still undergoing some tweaks at the moment, with the team of engineers still adding the pasture checking service and animal monitoring service. Human sensors will monitor an animal’s body temperature, which tells Swagbot and the farmer if they are ill.
The team calls it “the world’s first cattle station custom robot, an omnidirectional, electric, robotic ground vehicle”. They say it is “capable of navigating difficult cattle station environments through water crossings and steep ground”. It is thought it will not only save farmers on labour and time, but also save money on veterinary bills and diesel.
The design is expected to work without manual control and really could change the face of Australian livestock farming in the Outback.
Video above - ABCTVCatalyst