CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Using drones to monitor cattle health

Researchers at the University of Kentucky are developing an autonomous drone system to monitor cattle health in pasture. The drones will capture indicators like heart rate, body temperature and weight. 

Read the article
Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET
1
of 14

Drone flight testing

In the basement of the mechanical engineering building on campus, a team is testing automated drones flying in formation around a model cow (named Chuck). 

Read the article
Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET
2
of 14

Drone teams

The drones work in a set of four. Three worker drones hover around the cow, while a fourth observer drone uses its cameras to locate each worker drone. 

Read the article
Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET
3
of 14

Synchronizing drones

In the lab, the worker drone is simulated by cameras perched at the top of the wall. Those cameras triangulate cow and drone locations via retro-reflective markers. 

Read the article
Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET
4
of 14

Worker drones

These modified 3DR Solo worker drones are labeled and equipped with gray markers so the observer cameras can track them. 

Read the article
Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET
5
of 14

Command center

A controller keys in simple commands to initiate drone flight phases. Other than that, all the flying is autonomous. 

Read the article
Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET
6
of 14

Recognizing cattle

In order to recognize individual cattle in the field, the team needs to train the drone software with 3D models built from photos of real cows. 

Read the article
Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET
7
of 14

Photo booth

This special pen is equipped with 40 cameras that take a simultaneous photo from 40 different angles to build a 3D model. 

Read the article
Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET
8
of 14

Flying on the farm

The next phase of testing is flying drones around cattle in the field, to gauge cattle reactions and any possible stressors. 

Read the article
Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET
9
of 14

Observer drone

This observer drone flies above the worker drones to capture location and image data. 

Read the article
Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET
10
of 14

Takeoff

The drones in these field tests are controlled manually and flown around the cattle for 5-10 minutes per flight test.

Read the article
Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET
11
of 14

Worker drone

A worker drone prepares to fly into the field to observe a small herd.

Read the article
Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET
12
of 14

Worker drone

The worker drone lands on a special landing pad at command center. 

Read the article
Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET
13
of 14

The future of farming

Autonomous health monitoring is just one way technology like drones can improve the efficiency and quality of cattle health monitoring. 

Read the article
Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET
14
of 14
Up Next

Meet the Wi-Fi 6 routers that support 802.11ax