Working with FLOX

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

July 24, 2023


Aleksandra Szczepaniak

Poultry farm
photo credit: FLOX

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.

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. When the company realized it would be easier to keep track of the birds right in their living environment, they approached us so that they could implement their AI into a Leo Rover that would serve as a prototype for their project.

That’s how our cooperation came to be: we've been developing the mechanical part, while FLOX's been working on the software. The company has our full support in running the project, which we provide via a private workspace on Slack. Now, a little more about the project itself.

Leo Rover rules the roost

FLOX's Leo Rover in a chicken shed
FLOX's Leo Rover in a chicken shed

At FLOX, the Leo Rover robotic platform is used to drive around poultry farms, gathering and processing information which is then handed to farm owners. This enables them to understand how to optimize the well-being of their flock, ensuring healthier growth conditions. But how does it work exactly?

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 specific spot. This leads to accumulation of feces in this area, resulting in an increased concentration of ammonia in the soil, which, in turn, negatively affects the birds’ health. And that's precisely what the Leo Rover aims to prevent. 

As the robot moves around the shed, it maps the area to determine the concentration level of ammonia in the soil. At the same time, the rover shooes away the birds so that they don’t gather 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 contributes to improving the quality of the ground, and thus, the comfort and well-being of the animals living on it as well.

To localize the robot in the shed, FLOX is using Marvelmind's Inside Positioning System about which you can learn in this post.

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

How did we customize the robot?

As mentioned, our role in this custom project has been to handle the mechanical aspects of the Leo Rover.In addition to developing the aforementioned plow, we've also provided FLOX with mounting components for attaching extra hardware to the rover such as an additional computer and an ammonia concentration sensor. Also, the robot's design had to be adapted to suit the project’s the purposes. For example,it called for increasing the robot’s weight, which we achieved by modifying 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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