• Shropshire Star: Shropshire student’s gadget helps farmers track livestock

    Shropshire Star: Shropshire student’s gadget helps farmers track livestock

    A brainy Shropshire student has developed an innovative unmanned aircraft to help farmers keep track of livestock on large farms.

    Marc-Alexandre Favier has perfected his eye in the sky aircraft while completing seven months of research at Harper Adams University, near Newport.

    Marc-Alexandre, 27, came to the county as part of his Masters in mechatronic systems from the University of Osnabruck in Germany.

    He will return to Germany on Wednesday where he will give a presentation in Berlin on the research he has carried out during his time at Harper Adams.

    Marc-Alexandre, from eastern France, has designed a prototype Unmanned Air System (UAS) to be used by farmers who often have to manage and monitor livestock on very large and remote estates.

    He used an AR Drone 2 with a camera attached to the bottom to allow the user to get a bird’s eye view and came up with a computer program which instructs the drone to locate and track livestock.

    Although the drone can be controlled via wifi on a computer, the aim is for farmers to be able to control it using an iPhone or smartphone.

    Marc-Alexandre said: “The number of robots for professional use is increasing significantly so it is very important for Masters students to be up-to-date with robotics – it’s the future and the present.”

    He said his prototype was designed with Scottish sheep farmers in mind.

    “The idea is to combine using a quad bike with an unmanned aerial vehicle to help the shepherd not to have to spend too much time managing his flock,” he added.

    “I have developed a functional prototype drone to recognise and track sheep.”

    Marc-Alexandre, who hopes to work in the area of field robotics once he completes his Masters, said he had thoroughly enjoyed his time at Harper Adams.

    “I want to thank Harper Adams and the people who work here,” he said.

    “There were two reasons I wanted to come to Harper Adams. Firstly, to improve my English and to learn about English culture, and secondly, because Harper Adams is investing in the area of field robotics.”

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