Sheep Dogs’ Jobs Might Be At Risk As Robots Move Into Agriculture

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By Anthony McLennan / Truth Theory

Robotic operation platform Rocos are working with Boston Dynamics‘ Spot the robot dog to implement major advances in agriculture automation.

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Boston Dynamics are providing the ‘dog’ – a robot called Spot, which loosely resembles a canine. Most importantly, Spot has legs, and therefore, excellent mobility for outdoor work.

“Spot goes where wheeled robots cannot, while carrying payloads with endurance far beyond aerial drones. With 360° vision and obstacle avoidance, the robot can be driven remotely or taught routes and actions to perform autonomous missions,” the company stated.

Rocos meanwhile are lending their back-end expertise to the project. The company classifies itself as a cloud platform, for building and managing robot operations.

The partnership was confirmed this week and will encompass a broad range of industries.

“Coupled with the Rocos platform, Spot can be easily managed from a remote location, missions can be designed and edited on the fly, and sensor data collected on the mission can be accessed by remote teams,” reads a Rocos blog post.

“Spot can also be manually tele-operated to investigate issues, capture new data, or be redirected as required.”


How will farmers benefit from a robot dog?

The partnership is exploring ways in which Spot can provide real-time data while moving across rugged terrain such as farmlands. For one thing, this could save farmers the time and trouble of physically inspecting their land.

By plugging into the Rocos system, Spot’s real-time activities can be combined with historical data to create more powerful information.

“In the energy sector this provides real-time anomaly detection as well as access to historic digital records for comparison,” Rocos stated. “In agriculture, farmers can access information such as more accurate and up-to-date yield estimates. This provides access to a new category of automation, and a safer, more efficient business.”

A robot dog like Spot would also be able to alleviate worker shortages, as Rocos mentions in its Youtube video.

In the clip, there is a brief demonstration of Spot herding a flock of sheep, one of the many jobs it could potentially perform.

Spot robots are used in an increasing number of ways and have been assisting in the fight against Covid-19. Equipped with iPads, they have allowed doctors to virtually ‘visit’ coronavirus patients; in order to cut down on infection risks.

Read more: Air Pollution Drop Saved More Than 10,000 European Lives In April, Says CREA

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Image credit: Rocos

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