Scientists in Australia have developed a four-wheeled robot to herd cows and it has already proven a hit among farmers.
Researchers at the University of Sydney tested the device, known as Rover, to herd cows. It was used to move a herd of cows from a field to a dairy.
Early results showed that cattle have adapted to it well and farmers are keen on the idea, researchers said.
Since the robot moved in a steady manner it allowed cows to move at their own speed which was important in reducing lameness among cattle, Dr Kendra Kerrisk, dairy researcher and associate professor at the university, told the BBC.
Robots are already used in the milking process but the team wanted to see if they could be used in other areas of dairy farming.
The robot was adapted from one that was already being used to monitor fruit and trees on farms.
A team at Sydney University's Centre for Field Robotics modified the robot so that it could be put in a field with cows in order for the researchers to gather data on robot-bovine interaction.
The prototype needs to be operated by a human but it's hoped that in the future a version can be developed that will be fully automated.
According to the research team, the robot could also be used at night to move slowly through the maternity paddock monitoring cows that are due to calve.
It could also be used to gather data on soil and detect problems with electric fences.
"The research is in its very early stages but robotic technologies certainly have the potential to transform dairy farming," said Kerrisk.
"When we have discussed this concept with farmers they have been extremely excited and we have had a flurry of calls and emails asking how they can get hold of one," she added.