Sunday, 23 October 2022 06:18

5G, AI used to automate counting of cattle in 12-month NSW trial

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5G, AI used to automate counting of cattle in 12-month NSW trial Image by Alexa from Pixabay

The use of technology like 5G and artificial intelligence to aid the labour-intensive practice of counting cattle has been tested out by telecommunications vendor TPG Telecom.

The company said in a statement that a 12-month trial had been carried out in Tamworth, adding that such methods could save time and money and also boost productivity.

The trial involved automated, real-time counting of cattle being loaded and offloaded from trucks at the Tamworth Regional Livestock Exchange in northern NSW.

Used in the trial were 5G and AI-image processing capabilities which allowed multiple high-definition video streams to count cattle. The data was then sent to the saleyard manager via a tablet or mobile app.

TPG Telecom said automating this process could mean simultaneous counting in multiple locations in the saleyard and in other saleyards as well.

Videos are stored and could be looked at again in the event of a dispute over numbers.

AAM Investment Group’s NSW regional development manager, Brock Syphers, said: “Most people think counting cattle is as simple as counting jellybeans, but counting four-legged beasts moving at speed is a completely different ballgame.

“Counting cattle requires a lot of bodies, hours of work, and genuine skill to make sure you get the numbers right, all the while making sure the animals are healthy, looked after, and your people are safe.

“This is a game-changer for the industry and can give our team more time, resources, and the next level of accountability that is crucial on a sale day. The 5G smart solution can help deliver greater certainty for buyers and sellers alike, providing clear evidence the cows arriving at the saleyard are the same cows leaving when sold.”

TPG Telecom chief technology officer Giovanni Chiarelli said: "This project is a great example of how labour-intensive industries like agriculture can benefit from the major economic, resource, and productivity boosts made possible by 5G.

“It demonstrates how 5G networks and AI-image processing, cloud, and edge computing technologies can automate manual processes and drive efficiencies.

“We look forward to seeing how this solution can be rolled out nationally to deliver greater benefits and efficiencies to all Australian industries.”

The trial was carried out with assistance from Nokia, the University of Technology Sydney and Amazon Web Services. Funding was provided, in part, by the Federal Government’s 5G Innovation Initiative.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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