Robot Code of Conduct for Automated Dairy Farming

Steering the Design of Pleasurable, Cohesive and Appropriate Behaviours for Lely Automated Portfolio

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Robot systems are essentially a new species spreading around us, one that we willingly designed and introduced. Neither a natural species nor a mere human artefact. We have limited information about these smart agents. What do they want, what do you need from us, and how can we find a common ground of understanding to enhance each other through collaboration. Lely took a step into exploring these questions.

As a dutch-based company with a diverse portfolio of robot solutions, Lely thrives to bring dairy farming to the future. They cover many tasks assisting farmers and cows in barns worldwide. These increasingly capable entities are no longer tools but partners so we must take the next step into carefully designing our coexistence and collaboration with these robotic systems.

After extensive literature on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) and research activities with a variety of stakeholders, I developed a Robot Code of Conduct. This code guides developers into designing robotic systems delivering pleasurable, fitting and cohesive interactions. It provides intermediate-level knowledge on robot behavioural design by carrying the reader through three sets of guidelines differing in abstraction and actionability.

This project contributes to the field of HRI while spreading awareness of its relevance in practice. The document contains many influential factors that are applied and tailored to designing automated solutions in dairy farming. This document sets a direction and gives concrete guidelines to steer the development of the portfolio towards a vision where all Lely systems work and communicate desirably. Where they communicate as one. I obtained positive results from assessing the content and direction of this document with developers and farmers, however, further tests would be necessary for a more precise validation of this Robot Code of Conduct. Future research would be essential to transition from bringing awareness to relevant factors, to defining more recommendations and appropriate solutions.