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Issue Date: 28-Jan-2014
Authors: Giummarra, Andrea
Title: Uwb-based real-time location system performances for cow identification and localisation and cow's location data analysis and management in free-stall barns
Abstract: The main objective of this study was to evaluate the localisation and identification performances of a Real-Time Location System (RTLS) based on Ultra Wide Band (UWB) technology within a free-stall barn which represents a particularly harsh environment for the functioning of this kind of system. Each dairy cow was equipped with an active tag applied to one ear. A video-recording system was installed in the barn to perform the assessment of the RTLS. Top-view camera images of the area of the barn under study were rectified and synchronised with the RTLS. Each position of the cow computed by the RTLS was validated by performing cow visual recognition on the camera images. To perform this validation a software specifically designed for the purpose was utilized. It is a quick, accurate, automatic and interactive tool which includes selection and control tabs for data management, visualization and labelling of the images with the aim of the computation of the tag true positions. Localisation and identification performances of the RTLS were assessed by applying an outlier data cleaning technique to tag localisation errors and using precision and sensitivity indices. Trade-off between these performances was found through the computation of three performance metrics. The results showed that, in the environmental conditions of the barn, the RTLS produced errors which were comparable to the errors declared by the RTLS producer for the fixed reference tag whereas localisation errors related to the tags in movement were higher and, in detail, a mean error of 0.56 m and an error at the 90th percentile of 1.03 m were obtained. Outlier data cleaning produced significant improvements of the results by reducing the average localisation error of about 0.046 m for the cows tags and made data distribution more homogeneous. Trade-off of RTLS performances yielded an average localisation error equal to about 0.52 m with a position accuracy of 98% for cows tag and an error of about 0.11 m with a nearly 100% accuracy for the reference tag. RTLS performances in the considered environment proved to be generally not dependent on cow behaviour, as it is observed for other systems, and that RTLS is suitable to determine the occupancy level of the different functional areas of the barn, compute cow behavioural indices, and track each animal of the herd. An automatic and real-time software tool for the visual analysis of the cows location data in free-stall barns acquired by the RTLS was designed and developed. A visual representation used for visualizing two dimensional data of each cow using colours was implemented as a functionality of this tool. The different colour and colour intensity denoted the difference in sample density at a location. Measurement of the instant speed of each cow over the time, represented through an interactive graph, was another functionality implemented in this software. The results obtained by a use case of this software tool, which was carried out in order to acquire useful informations related to the occurrence of estrus, showed that a pattern, related to the behaviour of the cow analyzed, can be identified when the state of estrus occurs. Moreover, since it was designed to monitor cow behavior in real time, it offers the ability, by adding new control modules, to notify any inconvenience through alert messages as a result of changes in dairy cow behaviour and, therefore, it is possible to alert the farmer in real time.
Appears in Collections:Area 01 - Scienze matematiche e informatiche

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