ROBOTS ARE about to have beef with dogs after stealing cattle-herding duties from canine farm workers.
SwagBot, presumably named by someone channelling their inner 14-year-old, is the brainchild of boffins at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney, who created the robot for the purposes of moo-ving cattle.
SwagBot looks like a cross between a router, a tripod and a go-cart, and has four chunky wheels that allow it to skim across difficult terrain and pursue cattle not keen on being hoofed out of their patch.
A video of the robot in action (below) shows that it has neigh problems spooking horses as well, something that dogs aren't good at in our experience.
It is hoped that SwagBot will eventually be able to herd livestock across Australia's varied countryside without having to worry about killer snakes, although we reckon it will take some persuading for farmers to abandon their faithful collies.
The University of Sydney plans to milk the robot's success by adding capabilities that make it more of a robo-farmhand.
The second phase of development involves attaching temperature and motion sensors so that SwagBot can identify sick animals. If the creators make it capable of putting an arm up a cow's backside, even vets may be looking at a bleak future where robots have their jobs.
Many associate farming with tractors, mud and West Country accents, but the sector is pretty tech heavy, going so far as to put connected sensors on cows to measure when they’re horny - we bullshit you not - so SwagBot is not in a field of its own when it comes to farm tech.
Robots are getting increasingly involved in different sectors, and perhaps it’s time for the likes of poo-water chugging, robot-fearing Bill Gates to circle the wagons, and Steve Wozniak to steel himself for life as a pet. µ
Though it's not exactly an even playing field
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