Robots have been able to revolutionise operations in the army and have taken NASA’s space exploration to a new level but robots could be about to get a new assignment; herding cows.
According to Australian researchers robots could be the future in herding cows. A four-wheeled device named Rover, was tested by a team from Sydney University and they were amazed at how readily the cows accepted the robot’s presence.
They attributed this to Rover’s steady manner, allowing the cows to move at their own speed. Dr Kendra Kerrisk, a dairy researcher and associate professor, explains that this is important if the farmers are to avoid lameness in cattle.
The Sydney University team were already using a robot to test and monitor fruit and trees on farms. It was this robot that was modified to create Rover, which is able to enter a field so that the team can gather data on robot-bovine interaction.
Rover Is In Demand
The research team feel that the robot could have other uses as well as herding. For example, it could monitor cows in a maternity paddock, or gather data on soil and detect issues with electric fences.
It seems that famers are keen on the idea and want to know where they can get one from.
“When we have discussed this concept with farmers they have been extremely excited and we have had a flurry of calls and emails asking how they can get hold of one,” said Dr Kerrisk.
“The research is in its very early stages but robotic technologies certainly have the potential to transform dairy farming,” she said.
The team have been able to secure funding in order to develop a second generation Rover.
[Image via Arisplex]