Omni-Directional SwagBot Herds Cattle

As global demand for red meat rises, “SwagBot”, an omnni-directional, 4-wheeled robot shows promise to assist with herding and managing cattle on the open range.  Salah Sukkarieh teaches robotics at the University of Sydney’s School of Aerospace Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering.  Sukkarieh is leading the development of SwagBot to aid Australia’s farmers in a time of labor shortage.  The 3rd largest cattle exporter in the world, Australia has long employed many cowhands in its livestock industry. 

SwagBot can navigate over obstacles and even water, notes Sukkarieh.  However, SwagBot is still a work in progress.  Expected upgrades will enable the robot to evaluate an animal’s health and whether it is in stress.  The prototype SwagBot may be in production in as soon as three years, Sukkarieh notes, and the robot will be priced to match industry needs, where margins are low.  

This will be of keen interest to farmers, who must deal with tight margins.  However, it looks like this is one more industry where robots will soon displace human workers in a trend that is beginning to show itself across many industries and not just in tiers of professional jobs and specialty practice areas.