As seen on DigitalTrends.com
By: Drew Prindle
You’ve probably seen some pretty crazy and unusual uses for drones before. In the past few years, tinkerers have built everything from pizza delivery drones to aerial lifeguard UAVs — but if you think you’ve seen it all, think again. Feast your eyes on Shep: the world’s first sheep herding drone.
Basically, Irish sheep farmer and drone enthusiast Paul Brennan has figured out that an RC quadcopter is incredibly effective for moving sheep from one field to another. Based on the footage in the video above, it appears that the drone’s buzzing scares the bejeezus out of the sheep, and whenever it comes near, the’ll quickly hightail it in the opposite direction. With the right flightpath, Brennan can easily route the herd wherever he wants it to go.
This particular setup requires a human pilot for guidance, but it doesn’t take a large stretch of the imagination to see how drones could one day be programmed to herd sheep autonomously. Farmers are already experimenting with using drones for things like monitoring crops and dispensing fertilizers/insecticides, so animal herding seems like a logical next step.
UAVs probably aren’t going to replace regular ol’ sheepdogs anytime soon, but in the future, aerial shepherding systems that use computer vision and sophisticated herd-moving software could prove more efficient than a pack of trained dogs. Armed with GPS, herding drones could even be dispatched from afar with the push of a button.
Forget delivery — drones are going to revolutionize agriculture and farming before anything else.