As livestock industry has changed and become specialized in large scale, the cattle shed work that has been done by manpower is being replaced by automation systems. Among them, feeding is most essential for the growth and health of cattle. Also, it is the most time-consuming work in the cattle shed. So, it is necessary to have automated feeding system to facilitate the feeding in the large cattle shed. Based on these needs, an unmanned operation type automatic feeding robot which is designed for modern cattle shed with double structure is proposed in this paper..
This unmanned feeding robot system uses a screw-conveyor-type by a brushless DC motor to discharge the feed. And it comprises a digital signal processor (DSP)-based main controller, a radio frequency identification (RFID) system, an automatic guided vehicle (AGV), motors, a load-cell, ultrasonic sensors, temperature sensor, and an embedded PC.
This system moves along a inducted wire embedded or attached to the ground of the cattle shed and recognizes the RFID tag attached to the bifurcation and feeding area in cattle shed. It obtains information about the current location of the system, class of the cattle, and operation to be performed by reading RFID tags, and then the system moves to the designated route using the AGV. If the system needs to be supplemented with feed or if the battery needs charging, it returns to a charging station. After supplementing feed or charging the battery, it returns to the feeding area that was in operation. It measures the temperature inside the cattle shed by using temperature sensor. Furthermore, through the embedded PC it allows users to set up the work directly, check the current operation status and operate the functions. If an obstacle is detected in the ultrasonic sensors attached to the front and rear of the robot during the feeding operation, the work is temporarily stopped for safety, and the existing work is restarted if the obstacle is not detected for a period of time. In addition, it prevent the unnecessary pause operation, and analyzes the pattern of the ultrasonic echo signal detected by the ultrasonic sensor for the smooth feeding operation.