This is a practical project to solve a recurrent problem my rancher has with his herd. That will greatly help with design, testing and refinement. Another design decision is keep the hardware and software as open and low cost as possible, allowing it to be used for educational purposes. It will be natural to repurpose the bot to different sizes and tasks.
We are in the very early design phase considering the technologies most likely to trend towards success.
* protect ranch animals from mountain lion and wild dogs
** bright light
** text rancher of potential threat
* identify sheep, cows, pigs, people, dogs
** some dogs are part of ranch
** upload images to cloud for AI training
** stream bot video to twitch account
* ranch covers a hilly area, with pens near the top of the hill
* Project hardware/software/documentation
** open sourced for education
** leverage as much open source as possible ROS
** predator avoidance: trucks, cars, tractors, cows?
** obstacle avoidance: holes, ranch paraphernalia, people/animals
* herd sheep
* Work with smaller hexapod as development/test platform
** A candidate is at https://github.com/mogillc/nico, which
**** requires 3D printing and parts.
*** Also tied to Intel.
*** Next phase still in development
* Identify relevant software to leverage
* Deep learning platform (TensorFlow may be good open source one)
* Low Light thermal imaging camera (FLIR may be good choice)
* bot video stream to twitch account (likely using VNC server)
Intel has already done great things with hexapods for us to leverage, for instance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVEnCJ5DFk4