You probably sang this Australian folk song in school:
Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled:
"Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me?"
Now, though, it might be a robot! Yes, it's SwagBot.
(SwagBot searches for billabong)
The SwagBot is intended to be a low cost, powerful robot that can work across large, rugged areas. "Because of the type of terrain ... it needed to have enough power and articulation capability to clamber over logs and ditches," Sukkarieh told Mashable Australia.
Over the next few years, the lab intends to build more autonomy into the robot so it can perform certain tasks such as animal monitoring or weeding. "We're looking at how we can increase the level of autonomy so it makes it easier for the growers, which are usually just one man," he explained.
Battery-operated and with all-wheel drive, the SwagBot can reach speeds of 15 to 20 kilometres per hour (9 to 12 miles per hour) on smooth terrain.
Science fiction fans may recall that, in his 1966 story At the Bottom of a Hole, Larry Niven describes a self-guided tractor:
Five miles above the sunlight tube, the sky was a patchwork of small squares, split by a central wedding ring of lake and by tributary rivers, a sky alive with the tiny red glints of self-guided tractors.
And if you didn't sing that song in elementary school, you can listen to it now.