If I was a cow, I’d run away from this thing, too.
Say howdy to SwagBot, the latest invention from researchers at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney. They call it “an omni-directional electric robotic ground vehicle.” The idea is that our friend SwagBot can someday help automate labor-intensive farm activities such as monitoring and interacting with plants and animals.
As you can see in the video above, SwagBot’s first test run looked fairly impressive -- even though the machine itself looks a little goofy. It herded horses and cows, navigated rugged terrain, towed equipment, and showed off its ability to pair with a roving eye in the sky (a drone).
In all, it had a busy day.
SwagBot is only one in a growing arsenal of farming machines being developed by the university. The Ladybird, for instance, is an autonomous contraption that can apparently detect, classify, map, weed and ultimately harvest vegetables. Take a look at the lineup of robots here.
At the Australian Centre for Field Robotics, the team that’s working on SwagBot is in its first year of a three-year project. Additional research is needed, they say, in order to make SwagBot more autonomous.
Farming, it seems, is getting super high tech.