Pet owners' smart phones can be used to set virtual boundaries and keep track of lost or wandering animals under a smart collar program under development by the CSIRO.
The companion collar program uses low-energy Bluetooth connectivity for short-distance pet tracking and satellites for longer distance, and is based on a smart tag program for livestock which will be rolled out early next year.
Dr Phil Valencia, a CSIRO senior research engineer, said the Bluetooth collar was aimed at being a lower cost approach than the GPS tracking collars already available on the market, and which require regular re-charging.
The companion collar requires monthly charging on average, depending on the amount of activity the animal performs.
The CSIRO's imbedded intelligence platform is the basis for the collar, now in its prototype stage.
Pets that stay within the virtual boundary established by the owner would trigger the device's automatic power saving mode, but those who wander outside will cause it to switch to GPS location and direct satellite reporting.
Other crucial information such as animal behaviours, out of the ordinary activity and data for health metrics would be monitored by the collar, with information being uploaded to the cloud and displayed on a smart phone app.
"Owners will get valuable insights into how their pet has behaved throughout the day, with the system identifying if the animal's activity is above or below its typical levels, and whether it was significantly different at a certain time of day," Dr Valencia said.
Ceres Tag, the company which is rolling out the livestock ear tag, said learnings from its agriculture program will be transferrable to the pet collar.
CSIRO's "Kick-Start" program, which provides funding and support for innovative Australian start-ups and small businesses to access CSIRO's research and development, is behind the companion collar concept.