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Volume 25 Issue 5/6 - Publication Date: 1 May/June 2006
Special Issue on the Ninth International Symposium on Experimental Robotics, 2004
 
From Robots to Animals: Virtual Fences for Controlling Cattle
 
Z. Butler Computer Science Department, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY 14623 USA, P. Corke CSIRO ICT Centre, Australia, R. Peterson Dartmouth Computer Science Department, Hanover, NH 03755 USA, and D. Rus Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, MIT, Cambridge MA 02139, USA
 
We consider the problem of monitoring and controlling the position of herd animals, and view animals as networked agents with natural mobility but not strictly controllable. By exploiting knowledge of individual and herd behavior we would like to apply a vast body of theory in robotics and motion planning to achieving the constrained motion of a herd.
In this paper we describe the concept of a virtual fence which applies a stimulus to an animal as a function of its pose with respect to the fenceline. Multiple fence lines can define a region, and the fences can be static or dynamic. The fence algorithm is implemented by a small position-aware computer device worn by the animal, which we refer to as a Smart Collar. We describe a herd-animal simulator, the Smart Collar hardware and algorithms for tracking and controlling animals as well as the results of on-farm experiments with up to ten Smart Collars.
 
Multimedia Key
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Extension
Type
Description
1
Example 1: Simulation of unforced animal motion. (1.8 MB)
2
Example 2: Simulation of forced animal motion, slow threat object. (2.0 MB)
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Example 3: Simulation of forced animal motion, fast threat object. (1.3 MB)
4
Example 4: Simulation of a virtual fence. (3.7 MB)
5
Example 5: Simulation of two animal populations being separated. (1.8 MB)
6
Example 6: Observed effect of stimulus on animals in the field. (1.8 MB)
 
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