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AI system can predict the hour an animal gives birth

Nikon’s AI camera system monitors a cow’s movements and recognises when it is going into labour (Nikon)
Nikon’s AI camera system monitors a cow’s movements and recognises when it is going into labour (Nikon)

A new AI camera system has been developed that can predict the hour a cow will give birth.

The technology, created by Japanese camera maker Nikon, means farmers could soon be receiving notifications on their smartphones alerting them to the expected time a calf is due.

A camera fitted with the artificial intelligence monitors cows for signs that they are about to go into labour, offering about five hours of notice before the cow delivers.

Signals that the camera can pick up on include increased or erratic movement, as well as the emergence of the amniotic sac.

The same system could potentially be trained on other data sets, offering the ability to predict when other animals are about to give birth.

Nikons’ Kazuhiro Hirano said in a press conference that it could also be used to monitor and understand other animal behaviours.

“We want to be able to also detect when a female cow is in heat and other behavioural patterns,” Mr Hirano said.

Nikon has been experimenting with the system on four farms in Kumamoto Prefecture in the southwest of Japan for nearly a year, with the first commercial systems expected to launch this month.

“We deliver about 60 calves per year and had to check the mothers every few hours from around a month before they are due,” Keita Higuchi, a farmer who took part in the experiment, told Kyodo News. “This system has been a great help.”

The price is estimated to be around 900,000 yen (£4,850) per year for farms with 100 cows or less.