OffBeat

Moo-ve over, humans: Researchers turn to robots to replace cow herders

When robots inevitably take over, cows will be the first things they take control of.

Researchers at Sydney University are working on a robot that could one day make human cow herders a thing of the past. The robot, dubbed the Rover, has already successfully herded groups of over a hundred cows. And the worst part? The cows didn’t seem to mind.

As the researchers point out, one of the biggest benefits of the robotic system is that it reduces cow lameness, which commonly occurs when cows are pressured to move quickly when being herded. Robotic herders, which move at a slower, more regular pace than their human counterparts, reduce that pressure, which is ultimately good for the health of all the cows involved.

This, as you might expect, has attracted the attention of many dairy farmers, who are always looking for ways to reduce cow injuries — and increase output, of course.

While the first version of the Rover is operated by humans, the researchers hope all their insights into robot-bovine interactions  will help make more autonomous systems down the line.

All of which means this: Grab those burgers and milkshakes while you still can.