Robotic Herding of Farm Animals Using a Network of Barking Aerial Drones

Xiaohui Li, Hailong Huang, Andrey V. Savkin, Jian Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


This paper proposes a novel robotic animal herding system based on a network of autonomous barking drones. The objective of such a system is to replace traditional herding methods (e.g., dogs) so that a large number (e.g., thousands) of farm animals such as sheep can be quickly collected from a sparse status and then driven to a designated location (e.g., a sheepfold). In this paper, we particularly focus on the motion control of the barking drones. To this end, a computationally efficient sliding mode based control algorithm is developed, which navigates the drones to track the moving boundary of the animals’ footprint and enables the drones to avoid collisions with others. Extensive computer simulations, where the dynamics of the animals follow Reynolds’ rules, show the effectiveness of the proposed approach.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2022


  • Autonomous drones
  • Motion control
  • Precision farming
  • Robotic herding
  • Shepherding
  • Swarm guidance
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence

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