In modern poultry housing systems, laying hens have large behavioural freedom. Although beneficial for animal welfare, this also leads to an increasing need for human labour, for example manually collecting floor eggs and monitoring flock interactions. Given the increased attention for using robots, also in agriculture, an autonomous robot is proposed to replace undesired labour and increase sensing opportunities: PoultryBot.
Existing methods could be used for localisation and navigation, while for path planning, object recognition, and floor egg collection new methods were developed and tested. Finally, all methods were integrated into PoultryBot and its performance was determined for autonomous navigation and floor egg collection. PoultryBot proved capable of both tasks, making it the world’s first mobile robot for poultry house applications.