SwagBot is University of Sydney’s autonomous, cattle-herding robot prototype. It’s not the most handsome in the bunch, but it does keep tabs on cattle on its own and navigates the terrain easily, going over bumps and logs and handling swamps with grace. It keeps animals away from hazards, replacing humans successfully (at least, in early tests).
The team behind Swagbot doesn’t want to stop here, though. They intend to equip the robot with sensors that would allow him to monitor the condition of cows on a regular basis. In theory, it would be able to see if a cow is sick or injured based on body temperature or bizarre movements.
How would farmers control it? Most likely, it will have an interface that allows it to receive orders from them via smartphone or tablet. Given the country’s outback farmsteads, placed far away from the city, it’s no wonder Australians are thinking about ways to escape the herding job.