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Sydney researchers develop robotic herder

3 years ago3 views

Originally published on November 20, 2013

A team at the University of Sydney developed a robotic herder to move cows from the pasture to the dairy.

In a recent trial, researchers found that the cows readily accepted the presence of the herding robot. Named Rover by its creators, the robot matches the herd's pace which keeps the cows calm and prevents them from sustaining injuries.

The robot is equipped with a Velodyne 3D LiDAR, which sends out lasers to detect and track the movement of cows. A GPS system onboard Rover also tracks the motion of the vehicle over rough terrain. Data collected from these sensors produce a 3D reconstruction of the herd and the robot's movement on the pasture.

The tested prototype requires human control, but the final version of the robot is expected to be fully automated. Researchers are also looking to equip Rover to collect soil quality data and check for damaged fences.

"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," Dr Kendra Kerrisk, dairy researcher and associate professor at the University of Sydney, said in a BBC report.

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