Artificial Intelligence: BETSY, An AI Platform, Monitors Livestock Herds

The system uses facial recognition technology to monitor bovine animals.

Ranchers have long struggled with the problem of monitoring their herds of livestock across vast expanses of the ranch. Problems such as ill-health, calving, injuries and more could happen anytime and anywhere. Without lots of manpower, avoidable losses of precious bovines are inevitable. An AI platform dubbed BETSY, created by OneCup AI, is an effective solution. (GLACIER FarmMedia)

Geoffrey Shmigelsky, CTO at OneCup AI, was inspired to create BETSY while visiting relatives in Alberta who owned livestock. He thought of a potential AI solution when the difficulties in tracking animals for shipping came up in conversation.

How it works

BETSY stands for Bovine Expert Tracking and Surveillance, and its main function is to free up livestock producers for more important work compared to routine oversight of the animals. As a natural corollary, BETSY also relieves them from the difficulties of finding experienced cattle hands.

The ranchowners are required to place black boxes containing BETSY at strategic and most-frequented locations such as watering holes and feedlots. The boxes contain a computer and upto 16 cameras that can be focused by BETSY on individual animals that it has already learnt to recognize through AI-based facial recognition technology.

“This is the power of this technology,” Shmigelsky said at AgSmart. “We didn’t tell BETSY how to ID the animal. She looked at it and figured it out all by herself. She figured out what made the cow unique.”

Collecting vast amounts of data – up to 200 million data points a month – BETSY can identify disease indicators, cattle activities, nutritional data comprising input and output, and animal growth.

In case of an emergency, the system sends out alerts via email and text to the ranchowner’s smartphone. This allows for timely veterinary attention and thereby avoids the loss of valuable cattle.

BETSY – A watchful sentry

“A computer never sleeps … it never gets bored, so we can run it all the time, and look and see all the time,” says Shmigelsky. “And if you have more than one camera, you have many eyes on the ground, so you have a lot of information coming in to monitor your herd all the time.”

Related Story: Cameras Powered By AI Help Save Elephants

Images Credit: OneCup AI

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