London: A new study has revealed that sheepdogs have 2 simple rules they follow while rounding up a flock of sheep.
Scientists used GPS technology for the very first time to understand how sheepdogs do their jobs so well. The findings could lead to the development of robots that can gather and herd livestock, crowd control techniques, or new methods to clean up the environment.
Dr Andrew King of Swansea University, fitted a flock of sheep and a sheepdog with backpacks containing extremely accurate GPS devices designed by colleagues at the Royal Veterinary College, London.
Daniel Strombom of Uppsala University and colleagues then used data from these devices, together with computer simulations, to develop a mathematical shepherding model.
The team found that sheepdogs likely use just two simple rules, which were to collect the sheep when they're dispersed, and drive them forward when they're aggregated.
The research is published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.