Robots Can Now Add Cattle Herding to Their Resumé


If science fiction is to be believed, we are headed for a machine-assisted future where robots are helpers in every facet of life—maybe even in rural environments. Scientists at the University of Sydney's Australian Centre for Field Robotics recently introduced Swagbot, a farming robot capable of pulling heavy machinery and materials like a tractor, rolling over logs and other obstacles like a heavy duty truck, and herding cattle like a trained dog.

In a field test video (above) posted to YouTube and recently shared by Gizmodo, the robot's abilities are demonstrated out in the field. A literal Australian field, in fact. Swagbot has four legs with wheels that are a part of a waterproof drive system. There's all-wheel drive to keep it from getting get stuck in the mud, its chassis is durable to withstand abuse on the job, and it features a camera on the front so the owner can take control of its movements, or just sit back and monitor his/her property remotely.

"The trial has been very successful so far, so it’s given us the confidence to move to the next phase," Salah Sukkarieh of the University of Sydney told New Scientist. The next phase will involve teaching the robot to identify sick and injured animals, with added temperature, color, shape, and motion sensors to turn the workerbot into a nursebot for cattle and livestock.

Now if only they could teach it to wear (and tip) a cowboy hat.

[h/t Gizmodo]

Banner image: YouTube

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