Sheep are often herded using a real sheepdog, clever canines which run around directing the animals into a pen on a farm.
But a clever software company is conducting a test by replacing the dog with Boston Dynamics’ terrifying canine robot, Spot.
New Zealand is at the very edge of human civilisation on Earth, and the sheep there probably see the robot as an alien.
But there it is, Spot, running around in its weirdly naturalistic way, herding the flock. (See video below.)
The test is being conducted by Rocos Global, a software company specialising in artificial intelligence and robotics.
Rocos says it is providing remote mission design and execution, as well as teleoperation functionality for the Spot quadruped robot.
Spot spent lockdown on a farm in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand, and on his first mission, explored the possibilities of the use of autonomous robotics technology in agriculture.
The company says: “The use of autonomous robots in agriculture is increasing the efficiency of food production. Robots, like Spot from Boston Dynamics, increase accuracy in yield estimates, relieve the strain of worker shortages, and create precision in farming.”