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Autonomous Range Management Vehicle (ARM-V): experimental prototype (Phase 2)

Project start date: 01 November 2017
Project end date: 31 July 2020
Publication date: 18 May 2021
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Grain-fed Cattle, Grass-fed Cattle, Sheep, Goat, Lamb
Relevant regions: National
Download Report (11.8 MB)


HDT has developed a half-ton unmanned vehicle for the US military, which is rugged and capable of driving in the order of a hundred of kilometres, 24 hours per day, over a period of several days, rough unstructured terrain, with silent electric and long haul diesel propulsion.

This report outlines phase 2 of the ARM-V project and culminated with the delivery of (1) WOLF unit to Australia at the AU facility selected by MLA, including on-site operator training.

It is anticipated that phase 3 of the project will enable for instance autonomously inspecting water points or fence lines for any damage or breaches, count livestock using a tethered multi-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle, locate pest animals, and take soil samples, as just some identified use examples.


The present project is a limited precursor effort to create a “experimental” prototype that will:

  • extend its range and further increase its mission duration via the addition of a larger – secondary - fuel tank
  • incorporate an autonomous navigation controller
  • integrate waypoint GPS navigation software and operator interface
  • integrate video streaming and/or local recording
  • integrate basic obstacle avoidance such as auto stop.

Key findings

This second phase concluded with the delivery and demonstration of an Experimental Prototype of the Drover WOLF vehicle.

During phase 2, HDT iterated on the design (addressing lessons learned), built and delivered a Drover WOLF vehicle with a prototype implementation of an obstacle avoiding autonomous – GPS waypoint – navigation system.

Benefits to industry

There are many operations on remote cattle and sheep stations that are difficult to perform consistently, due to labour constraints. The ARM-V concept is one solution to these needs in addition to potentially providing new opportunities (such as connectivity).

For instance, many properties would have at least one FTE for water, fence, and asset inspection, with associated support and overhead costs, and occupational safety exposures. This platform can address water point or fence integrity breaches, which can result in large stock losses.

MLA action

MLA will continue to demonstrate and trial manual task replacement and use cases to producers. 

Related MLA projects

Autonomous Range Movement Vehicle (ARM-V): Phase IIIa, MLA final report, 20 November 2020

Potential use of autonomous vehicles on cattle stations, feedlots and processing plants, MLA final report, 14 August 2018

Autonomous Range Management Vehicle: Proof of Concept Prototype, MLA final report, 07 November 2017

More information

Contact email:
Primary researcher: HDT Expeditionay Systems