Can man’s best friend be replaced by a robot?
Our Kiwi neighbours have started using drone technology – unmanned aerial vehicles best known for delivering pizza – to help with jobs that are dirty, dangerous or just plain boring – including mustering sheep.
The latest drone model, the $3,500 DJI Mavic Enterprise, can record sounds (like a dog’s bark) and play them over a speaker to be projected across a paddock.
Not only does the technology help move stock along faster, it also stresses the animals less than a dog might. Drones could also help farmers save some serious time and money.
“It can sometimes take half a day to find a water leak, whereas with a drone you can zip around and have it done in an hour at the longest,” fourth-generation farmer, Ben Crossley, told Radio NZ.
So, are New Zealand’s sheep dogs out of a job?
The farmers say no – they’ll always be a place for them on the farm. But if the dogs want to spend some of their spare time with us, we’re happy to supply pats.