“Attention all Sheep – The Robots Are Coming”
Farmers in New Zealand have used a four-legged robot to herd sheep, patrol fields and perform other agricultural tasks.
The feats were carried out as part of a demonstration of Spot – a robotic dog developed by Massachusetts-based engineering firm Boston Dynamics.
Equipped with software developed by robotics company Rocos, Spot was controlled remotely to shepherd sheep across a mountainside.
“The age of autonomous robots is upon us,” claimed Rocos chief executive David Inggs. “Our customers are augmenting their human workforces to automate physical processes that are often dull, dirty, or dangerous. Organisations can now design, schedule and manage inspection missions remotely.”
Spot’s abilities include climbing stairs, traversing rough terrain, and even opening doors. Its versatility means it can be adapted for a variety of rolls, with one recently deployed in a park in Singapore to enforce social distancing measures.
Since 8 May, a version of the robot has been patrolling a two-mile stretch of pathway in the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. Using its array of sensors to monitor the park’s occupants, the robot is programmed to “bark” a warning at people standing too close to each other.