SwagBot: The cattle-herding robot that's making waves in Australia

This could be the end of the classic farm dog

The Australian Centre for Field Robotics has developed a robot called 'SwagBot' to assist in everyday agriculture needs, in association with the University of Sydney. This could see the end of the traditional farm dog. 

SwagBot is designed to 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 tend to be in remote areas. 

 

The device has been tested and users found that SwagBot could successfully navigate its way around ditches, logs and swaps. The next wave of development involves teaching the robot how to identify animals that may be unwell or injured. Salah Sukkarieh, lead researcher from the University of Sydney, says it's full steam ahead. 

“The trial has been very successful so far, so it’s given us the confidence to move to the next phase,” he says. 

The researchers have previously shown that farm robots can be used to monitor the health of crops, but SwagBot will be the first in the world to monitor the health of livestock.