Working with FLOX

Learn how a Leo Rover became just the robot poultry farms need.

November 23, 2022

by

Aleksandra Szczepaniak

You surely know that mobile robots can come in handy in a lot of areas nowadays. Leo Rover proves that one of them is poultry farming. See how the wheeled fella is being used by FLOX in chicken sheds.

Leo Rover in a chicken shed

About FLOX

FLOX – a self-proclaimed “Healthy Chicken Company” – is an AI-driven machine vision technology company that helps flock owners improve bird welfare and flock performance. 

The company uses advanced machine technology for real-time monitoring to facilitate tracking things, including bird activity round-the-clock without disturbing the animals. This solution allows poultry farm owners to improve their flock's welfare by monitoring clustering and the birds' activity.

Their technology enables a shift to evidence-led, data-driven broiler farming, as well as provides greater visibility and transparency throughout the supply chain.

At FLOX, they combine advanced AI with off-the-shelf sensors to provide the supply chain with the real-time data they need about their poultry.

FLOX and Leo Rover cooperation

The main goal of FLOX for this project is to create a system for monitoring the quality of life of broilers on poultry farms. Once the company had realized it would be easier to keep track of the birds right where they lived, they approached us so that they could implement their AI in a Leo Rover that would serve as a prototype in their project.

That’s how our cooperation came to be with us preparing the mechanical part and FLOX working on the software. The company has our full support needed to run the project, which they receive via a private workspace on Slack. Now, a little more about the project itself.

Leo Rover rules the roost

At FLOX, the Leo Rover robotic platform is used for driving in poultry farms, gathering and processing information which is then handed to the farm owners. This way, they know how their flock should be treated so that it can grow in healthier conditions. But how exactly does it work?

Well, one of the problems that commonly occurs in chicken sheds is hen parties. Wait, what? On a more serious note, the issue is that the flock tends to cluster in one spot. This leads to accumulation of feces in this area, which, in turn, increases the concentration of ammonia in the soil, which negatively affects the birds’ health. This is exactly what the Leo Rover is to prevent. 

Moving around in the shed, the robot maps the area determining the level of ammonia concentration in the soil. At the same time, the rover makes the birds scatter so that they don’t gather together in one spot for too long. With the use of a special aeration tool that we’ve developed (a plow, if you will) attached to the back of the vehicle, the Leo Rover spreads the accumulated excrement across the shed and also loosens the soil. All this comes down to improving the quality of the ground, and thus, the comfort of life of the animals living on it as well.

Leo Rover with a plow in a chicken shed
The Leo Rover robot in a poultry farm with the aeration tool attached to it

As mentioned, our job in this project has been to prepare the Leo Rover from the mechanical side. In addition to developing the aforementioned plow, we've also provided FLOX with mounting components to attach additional hardware to the rover such as an extra computer and an ammonia concentration sensor. Also, the robot's design has had to be adapted to the purposes of this project. For instance, it called for increasing the robot’s weight, and to achieve that, we've modified some of the construction materials to make them heavier.

Versatility of Leo Rover

If the idea of using a mobile robot in a chicken shed had never crossed your mind before, now you know it's a thing. Leo Rover is the very proof that, together with AI, it can be used in poultry monitoring or, at least, be a prototype for it.

You can find out for what other purposes Leo Rovers can be used here.

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