The Telegraph

The bucolic custom of a shepherd rounding-up his flock with a sheep dog is one of the few farming traditions which have endured in Britain, despite the mechanisation of much of the industry.

But technology could be at last threatening the Border Collie, after academics discovered the algorithm for herding sheep.

Scientists at the University of Swansea, found that sheep dogs use two simple mechanisms to force the animals into a tight group and then move them forward.

They believe that robots could be programmed with the same algorithm to round-up livestock; control crowds or even clean up environmental accidents, like oil spills.

It appears that dogs do not really see the sheep, but the gaps between them. If the gaps are too big they weave from side to side, forcing the animals to huddle closer together.

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