AI News, SwagBot to Herd Cattle on Australian Ranches

SwagBot to Herd Cattle on Australian Ranches

In order to tackle the hills, dales, fields, cliffs, rivers, swamps, crocodiles, platypuses, echidnas,koalas, quolls, emus, kangaroos, wallabies,wombats, anddingoes (to name just a few common obstacles in Australia), researchers from the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney led by Dr. Salah Sukkarieh have designed and tested an all-terrain robot called SwagBot that’s designed to be able to drive over almost anything while helping humans manage their ranchland.

if you don’t have 7 minutes to spare, you should reevaluate your priorities and then make sure and watch the clips at 1:15 (monitoring animals), 1:40 (obstacle traversal), 2:40 (aerial vehicle coordination), and 6:40 (waterproof drive systems).

The project is scheduled to run for at least two more years, and Dr. Sukkarieh says that they’re planning on developing the autonomy of the robot as much as they can: “Over the coming year the focus is to go full autonomy over areas that have been previously mapped to ensure the robot can operate safely.

Cattle-herding robot Swagbot makes debut on Australian farms

Swagbot can herd cows, tow heavy trailers, and traverse rugged terrain and has been designed to manage livestock on Australia’s vast sheep and cattle stations, which are often remote and difficult to access.

trial which began last month has confirmed that SwagBot is able to herd cattle, and can navigate its way around ditches, logs, swamps, and other features of a typical farm landscape.

His team is planning to fit the robot with temperature and motion sensors to 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.

Meet SwagBot, the Robot Cowboy that Can Herd and Monitor Cattle on Its Own

SwagBot is able to keep tabs on cattle (and potentially sheep) on its own and navigate bumpy terrain with ease, helping to guide the cows towards pastures and away from potential hazards.

According to University of Sydney professor Salah Sukkarieh, his team plans to enhance SwagBot with sensors that allow the robot to monitor the condition of cows in the field on a regular basis—a significant upgrade from the sporadic check-ups they get from humans.

That’s all still a work in progress, however, with Sukkarieh telling New Scientist that they will be working on algorithms to enable monitoring capabilities “over the next few months.” It’s not fully clear yet how farmers will be able to control or program SwagBot should it have an eventual consumer-focused model, but the GPS boundaries of the land will probably need to be plugged in or outlined on a map.

In May, we saw a few examples of autonomous farming robots at the AgBot Challenge in Indiana, where students and entrepreneurs battled to showcase their best prototypes, plus Bayer recently announced plans to use extensive satellite data to help farmers better manage their fields.

It’ll probably be years until SwagBot and its ilk are patrolling an average farmer’s field outside of the trial run, and the rolling robot is unlikely to be as iconic as the classic human cowboy, or as lovable and loyal as a border collie.

Meet SwagBot, the Robot Cowboy That Can Herd and Monitor Cattle On Its Own

SwagBot is able to keep tabs on cattle (and potentially sheep) on its own and navigate bumpy terrain with ease, helping to guide the cows towards pastures and away from potential hazards.

The university’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics is only weeks into a two-year trial to test autonomous farming robots, and SwagBot has already impressed in its early testing, showing that it can get around obstacles and do the job without constant oversight.

SwagBot’s movements may be deliberate and awkward-looking at times, but that slow and steady approach helps the robot overcome swamps, logs, sudden drops, and other surprise terrain without toppling over.

According to University of Sydney professor Salah Sukkarieh, his team plans to enhance SwagBot with sensors that allow the robot to monitor the condition of cows in the field on a regular basis—a significant upgrade from the sporadic check-ups they get from humans.

In May, we saw a few examples of autonomous farming robots at the AgBot Challenge in Indiana, where students and entrepreneurs battled to showcase their best prototypes, plus Bayer recently announced plans to use extensive satellite data to help farmers better manage their fields.

It’ll probably be years until SwagBot and its ilk are patrolling an average farmer’s field outside of the trial run, and the rolling robot is unlikely to be as iconic as the classic human cowboy, or as lovable and loyal as a border collie.

The University of Sydney - Faculty of Engineering & Information Technologies

Robotics is a field that has captured the public imagination, with numerous books, films and television programs featuring improbably intelligent machines with seemingly unlikely capabilities.

These are devices that can perceive and understand their environment, make informed decisions about any actions required and then carry out those actions - all without direct human input.

'For example, my colleagues and I have already developed an automated berth in Brisbane where ships are loaded and unloaded by robotic devices without direct human involvement.

'I'm passionate about developing this kind of high-end technology and supporting its adoption, because it has a significant and immediate impact on industry and the wider community - it really is transformational.

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