Facebook PixelAirsoft turret robot that follows domestic animals around and protects them from predators
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Airsoft turret robot that follows domestic animals around and protects them from predators

Image credit: Jack Buendorf

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Dec 08, 2021
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A robot equipped with two airsoft turrets follows domestic animals around and protects them by shooting at predators.
It doesn't shoot at people and the animals in its care. Anything else gets a warning shot, followed shortly by a barrage of airsoft bullets.
Why?
  • Make domestic animals safer outside.
  • Reduce losses due to predators.
  • Make wild predators less interested in living near people.
How it works
Two automated airsoft turrets are mounted on a 4-wheel drive rover. The rover is equipped with 360 degrees of thermal cameras in addition to each turret having its own camera. The software continuously scans for signs of predators crouching nearby. The robots' two turrets can deter multiple attackers simultaneously.
The robot is with the herd/coop 24 hours per day so that the animals get used to it. It charges at night by parking itself above an inductive charger.
The robot takes strategic positions from which it monitors an entire perimeter where the animals are grazing. If the location is unfavorable for a good overview, the robot patrols the area by changing positions.
If the animals start screaming the robot quickly moves towards the screams and starts shooting at anything that moves, has a heat signature, and is not a member of the herd.
In addition to airsoft bullets, the robot could sound an alarm or some sound that universally scares the predators. It could also have a built in pepper spray if bears and wolves are the problem.
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Creative contributions

A drone with thermal imaging supports the robot

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Dec 08, 2021
Just like the Mars Perseverance rover has its Ingenuity drone, the animal protection rover could have a drone parked on a nearby charger. Every now and then, the drone would make a perimeter round and scan the area for any new heat signatures.
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Biodegradable bullets

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Dec 17, 2021
Something like hardened dung pellets or seeds (or seed parts or seeds crushed into a powder that can be shaped into a bullet using some biodegradable adhesive) can be used as bullets. By using biodegradable bullets, you don't need to clean the area.
Also, small bullets may enter the digestive tract of the animals (especially that of grazers). Animals would not consume dung bullets or those who consume will not be harmed (since they probably feed on other animals' dungs regularly). If the bullets are made of seeds, the animals may or may not consume them and even if consumed, they will not get sick.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica month ago
Agreed. Shooting corn or some other seed of similar size would be amazing. The animals would clean up after the predator is chased away
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Cost-benefit and safety of the robot are questionable

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JN
J. Nikola Dec 08, 2021
The idea is fun and useful, I love it! I also support it because I strongly consider agriculture and farming underdeveloped. Since you combine new technologies with cattle/livestock breeding or poultry, this could be a cool way how younger people could fall in love with it and possibly help create modern and sustainable agriculture.
The possible drawbacks
Since you would use an airsoft gun, the robot should refill the battery and the bullets from time to time. It uses a lot of materials and energy to serve a "cheap" function. That's why I think it would function better in big farms where animals are under the open sky, without any houses/people near. Also, firing any kind of bullets would be tricky, especially in areas with a lot of houses. If the robot misses a fox or a low-flying eagle and accidentally shoots a kid, the problem could be very serious. Not to mention that these robots could be used to eliminate people in "unfortunate" scenarios (as recently seen when Alec Baldwin killed a girl on set by firing "blanks").
Potential solutions
I would rather suggest some other method instead of shooting. Bird predators are successfully rejected by shiny objects. In that case, the object should not be visible all the time (so the predator doesn't get used to it), but shine when it needs to. Similar like the technology to scare away deers on the road, you could also use high frequency noise to scare away predators during the night.
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General comments

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Spook Louw
Spook Louwa month ago
I just wonder how the robot would be able to distinguish between friend and foe. Just judging by the camera on my phone that often mistakes one animal for another, it could be quite a mess if the robot were to mistakenly classify your entire flock as a threat.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica month ago
Spook Louw Eventually, the same way Tesla autopilot distinguishes between the necessary parameters when making driving decisions. If this idea was developed to its maximum potential, it would pretty much use the same technology.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 months ago
In my area foxes and buzzards prevent me from having free-range chickens roaming around. A robot the size of a chicken with one turret scanning the sky and the other scanning for a fox would be ideal
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Povilas S
Povilas S2 months ago
I'm wondering would the airsoft bullets be enough to deter larger predators that are in the attack mode, could they start attacking the robot instead? The robot could also harm neighbor's free-roaming or broke off the leash pets who might not even intend to harm the herd animals. Also, what about birds and small animals that airsoft bullets could potentially do serious harm to? The robot should then be trained to identify only the potential predators. Also, how would you prevent the animals of the herd from attacking the robot? Would it run away from them if the animals didn't like it moving around them?
Could the drone do the shooting instead?
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 months ago
Judging from my experience with horses, they don't mind a piece of equipment once they get used to it. Chickens can't harm the robot. If this turns out to be a problem, the robot could hand out slaps with a mosquito slapper if an animal doesn't want to leave it alone.
If small animals are afraid of the robot, they could be trained to receive food from it. Then they would follow it around.
Distinguishing a bird of prey from a chicken or a crow might be challenging. That would require some pretty advanced deep learning software.
Airsoft guns can be ramped up in power to break the skin if necessary. I imagine that a barrage of bullets (from 2 turrets) with that strength would make any predator rethink its actions.
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