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Farmer trains sheep to associate drone with food

by ace
Fazendeiro treina ovelhas para que associem drone a alimentos

Security, logistics, fishing and even reforestation. The most varied activities have incorporated the use of drones around the world. The diverse possibilities of adaptation and versatility of these flying devices make them increasingly common in daily routine and are not surprising. In a recent case, a farmer in England became the first person to train sheep to associate drones with food.

Wojtek Behnke came up with the idea by searching the internet and finding that farmers had already failed to drone their herds, as the animals soon realized that the flying "machines" posed no threat and soon ignored them.

Behnke then teamed up with Mark Rutter, professor of Applied Animal Behavior at Harper Adams University, and together created a positive reinforcement method.

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According to The Telegraph, Wojtek set up a pipe that goes into a trough in the sheep field and, in hiding, began dropping food while flying the drone.

Soon, the sheep began to approach when they heard the sound of the propellers, even if there was no food, and began to follow the flying device.

The method goes back to the work of Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov, who used positive reinforcement to train dogs that associated specific noises with food.

According to the Telegraph report, the method goes back to the work of Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov, who used positive reinforcement to train dogs that associated specific noises with food.

"They flee the drone initially, but soon realize that it is not a threat and ignore it. But the more positive reinforcement used, the more effective it will become," said Professor Rutter.

Credits: The Telegraph / Reproduction

Local law prohibits the use of drones in some activities and requires registration and an online course. Rutter said he has been moving to try to change the law to make it easier to use these devices in the field.

"In the future, we want to use fully autonomous drones so they can fly alone and have security features programmed into them," he said.

Source: The Telegraph

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