Cargill, an agribusiness who employ in excess of 155,000 employees, have revealed their latest ag-tech project, a cattle herding robot!
The robot, which has yet to be named, is completely remote controlled and means workers on farms with a high quantity of cattle won’t have to manoeuvre through the mammoth herds. This presented a danger to workers, especially those at Cargill’s beef plant in Nebraska, USA.
Here workers once donned chest pads, helmets and many other items in an attempt to deal with the massive herds on site.
“You’re herding live animals…They could turn on you, run you over, kick you, hurt you. So, anything we can do to be safer while we do this, we’re going to do.” said Matt Croghan, yard supervisor.
The robot was designed by the company’s plant operations manager, Brad Churchill, after watching a video of a similar robot which was used as a security device rather than for herding. The team then proceeded to “beef up” the robot in question, changing the materials used from plastic to metal, redesigning the wheels and adding a blower to push cows forward without having to touch the animals.
The robot also features wire arms, which have plastic bags tied to them and hang upright like actual arms or a radio antenna. These ‘arms’ are whipped back and forth, to mimic the sound a worker may make. If these changes were not enough, the team also added a voice to the bot. It can say Hey! “Hey! Hey! Come on. Let’s move it!”
The robot will soon be rolled out for uses in all of Cargill’s beef plants throughout the US and is expected to revolutionise the industry. As mentioned it is operated by remote control, by workers standing on walkways above cattle pens.
“I believe this could be used someday in all of our beef facilities and beyond…Finding technology that helps keep our people safe and improves animal welfare is a big win.” Matt Croghan concluded.
Check out the video of the robot in action below!