Imagine when cows start milking themselves. Making this assumption a reality, a Dutch firm has developed a revolutionary robotic milker which allows cows to milk themselves.
Agricultural firm Lely has introduced a robotic milker, ‘The Astronaut 4’, to a range of robotic farming systems which can be configured to local farm needs. It works on the principle that instead of the farmer or the robot controlling the milking, the cow does.
The Astronaut 4 system is designed in such a way that the cows can easily use. Incorporating the “I-flow concept,” the machine allows the cow to walk straight in and out without having to turn or back up. These are the two things that cows hate to do. I-flow allows the cow to learn how to use the machine faster, reduces stress, and makes the milking station less of a bottleneck.
The simple machine design helps cow to soon learn to go into the robotic milking station to be milked and get a bit of food when it feels like having it. The machine has an automatic feeding trough that helps cow remain occupied. Depending on the configuration, the trough can automatically dispense food, minerals, supplements, and liquids to suit each cow.
The Lely version of the robotic milking arm was introduced in 1992 and the Astronaut 4 version is a more developed model.